Not just surviving but thriving: Practices that sustain a new generation of Latin American community media makers

Diana Coryat


Over ten years ago, two community media initiatives were founded by young people in their early twenties in Bogota, Colombia and Quito, Ecuador. While the Colombia-based collective, Ojo al Sancocho, has struggled to build bridges among urban and migratory communities uprooted by an entrenched, decades-old armed conflict, the Ecuadorian group, El Churo Comunicación, has fostered audiovisual autonomy and resistance among indigenous, feminist and ecological social movements that have had to defend their rights even though they were supposedly guaranteed by a so-called progressive government. Despite formidable challenges, each has fulfilled a long-held dream - a community movie theater, and the expansion of a radio-based practice to a multiplicity of practices that include community filmmaking, cyberfeminism and capacity-building of communities across Ecuador and Latin America. Together with other collectives, Ojo al Sancocho and El Churo are building a network of community filmmakers across Latin America. Using each organization’s 2017 annual gathering as a point of departure, and subsequent meetings in 2018-2019, this article analyzes the characteristics that have led to innovation and sustainability in diverse contexts. It also indicates key challenges they face. This is an engaged, ethnographically-based, scholarly work.


Alternative media, citizens’ media, community filmmaking, community media, cultural organizing, Latin American community media, sustainability

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