El Alebrijero (Alebrije Maker) de San Martín Tilcajete

Aug 27, 2017

We had a great time doing this one. The original plan was to walk with Norberto to the country to cut down a copal tree, then record the interview followed by a return trip to shoot the making of the alebrije. Our first trip was delayed because his father, Ventura, had hernia surgery.

When Norberto saw the car he was delighted about riding in a car in lieu of a 45 minute walk. Through muddy tracks we drove and drove goats ahead of us. I wired him up and we walked after reaching the end of the passable road. Unfortunately, the wireless mic kept dropping sound at inopportune moments.

We shot the tree cutting and recorded the interview back at his home. Then on the way out we shot some b-roll around town. There was some kind of political meeting going on under the basketball roof which made me a bit self-conscious recording. I always feel that way being a tall gringo slinging a camera close to really not-so-tall people. One shop owner, upon seeing us in the car across the street with camera rolling, started placing carvings out on the sidewalk as we filmed.

The return for the workshop shots was delayed a bit because of some inter-village strife resulting in roadblocks and some shootings. The usual…

We went back to the campo to shoot another tree cutting. We were accompanied by a young man from California who is doing research for his PhD. On this run we saw bunches of grasshoppers and fire ants. Sound was good with a new Shure wireless mic.  After the shoot, they asked us to stay for a dinner of nopal (cactus) soup. I had resisted eating nopal up until then, but I couldn’t turn down the family. It’s just like green beans. A great day.

Norberto’s pride in his craft, his family, and his village are evident in nearly everything he says. I wish him, and his, continued success…


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