Return to Ecuador

The Last Ice Merchant premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Since then, it has screened in film festivals internationally and won a number of recognitions, including awards for best short documentary at the Woodstock Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival, Independent Film Festival Boston, Oaxaca Film Festival, Napa Valley Film Festival and the Miami Short Film Festival.

We thought that it was important to bring the movie back to the community from which it came. In May 2012, Rodrigo and I arranged two screenings in Ecuador, one in Cuatro Esquinas and the other in neighboring Pulingui, exclusively for the local indigenous community. We brought in a screen, sound system and projector, turned a community room and a church into makeshift theaters, and invited everyone in town.

We wanted this to be a fun activity to thank the community for the hospitality and warmth they had given us when we were shooting the film. We hired Gregorio, Baltazar’s brother, to make a fresh batch of blackberry ice cream to hand out to everyone that came to see the movie.

The two screenings were a huge success. Everyone really enjoyed seeing the movie and seeing their community portrayed on the screen. Some people told us that they had never been to a theater before. Others told us that, before seeing the movie, they had no idea what Baltazar actually did on the mountain. Others told us that the movie made them proud of their community. It was rewarding to return to the community to share the movie and receive approval of the project.

An audience enjoys the movie in Pulingui

An audience enjoys the movie in Pulingui

An audience enjoys the movie in Pulingui

People line up for ice cream after the screening

People line up for ice cream after the screening

People line up for ice cream after the screening

Rodrigo enjoys the chance to show the movie to locals

Gregorio serves his hand-made ice cream

Enjoying the ice cream

Enjoying the ice cream

Enjoying the ice cream

Enjoying the ice cream

Enjoying the ice cream

Enjoying the ice cream

Hooking up electricity for a screening in Cuatro Esquinas

A screening in Cuatro Esquinas

Gregorio serves more ice cream after another screening

Enjoying the ice cream

Baltazar's granddaughter

Baltazar

A last ice cream cone

Women from the community give a knitting demonstration after the screening

An audience watches a knitting demonstration