The world suffocates in its own self-destruction. The Spirit Callers are keeping a close watch and pray to the Four Directions, who gather and debate whether to come to the aid of humanity. The struggles of generations in past, present, and future are about to come to a close.
The Four Directions have spoken. Are our minds, hearts, and spirits open enough to hear the call?
still from In Moment. Director of Photography: Émilie Beauchamp
"In Moment" is an experimental narrative exploring a juncture in a time where people from different histories and walks of life receive a message from the Four Directions to gather as one. Through unity, they are to overcome injustice, violence, and bring peace and well being across these lands.
still from In Moment. Director of Photography: Émilie Beauchamp
“In Moment” is a short experimental drama inspired by a fictional story written 20 years ago by my father through his musical project “Indigenous World”. His story explores the prophecy of the condor meeting the eagle, and indigenous nations from around the world uniting to overcome our hardships. The world is described as it is now, filled with individualism, corporate greed, ecological and human self-destruction. The Four Directions agree to gather together. Accompanied by marches and mobilizations of humans and creatures from around the world, they fight for their lives and those of the earth. In the words of my father: “With one flash of light the Spirit of Love evaporates around the world giving a new sense of hope and prosperity”. Indigenous World emerges, a place where love and music fill our souls and our streets.
“In Moment” expands on that moment of gathering. It focuses on 6 characters, all from different backgrounds, who receive a call to action. Set in a somber mood, the world around them is fractious; uprisings are commonplace, death tolls are increasing, and the ancestors visit their loved ones through dreams. However, all these characters (Jamie, Bert, Rinchen, Tenzin, Allpa, and Dakota) have a role in forming the future Three Sisters Council, whose task is to coordinate the flow of communication between all communities and facilitate decision making for the betterment of all people.
Jamie is anxious, but ready for the battle ahead alongside her sister Bert. 21 year old Rinchen has too many responsibilities weighing her down, but the belief in a greater purpose propels her. Allpa, who carries knowledge of the earth and of their ancestors recognizes the call of the Four Directions when they see Dakota’s drawing.
Through signals from the sky and the earth, even through technology, people understand that it is time to rise and converge. We see people gathering with conviction. Indigenous world is soon to be a reality. It was particularly important for me to explore what this moment may feel like. There are no words, rather, only sound, movement, and prayer, symbols, which call the characters to action.
“In Moment” is a reflection of current events, future possibilities and a reminder of our ancestors’ struggles. It could have already occurred (and has in different ways) or is perhaps a prediction of what it is to come. The use of 16mm colour film creates a feeling of timelessness, connecting the past to the present and vice versa, in a circular motion, as time does in Kichwa cosmology. Set with little dialogue, my fathers music amplifies the sense of tension and elevation. Ultimately, the film invokes a sense of urgency and unity in confronting oppressive powers. I seek to create a desire to not just join those on the screen but make this movement larger and stronger.
This short film was made possible by the ImagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival and Liason of Independent Filmmakers 2017 joint mentorship program
Day 1 of production. Photo by Matías Bó
Day 2 of production. Photo by Matías Bó
Day 3 of production. Photo by Jahmal Nugent
Director/Writer/Producer: Samay Arcentales Cajas
Director of Photography: Émilie Beauchamp
1st Assistant Director: Nakisha Millien
2nd Assistant Director: Jaene Castrillon
Production Assistant: Tyler Doré
Gaffer: Mohammad Daud
Sound Recordist: Alana Raymond
Boom Operator: Jesse Whitty
Set Design and Wardrobe: Vero Diaz
On Set Photographer: Matías Bó, Jahmal Nugent
Editor/Animator: Samay Arcentales Cajas
Sound Designer/Mixer: Sayri Tupac Muenala
Aemilius Milo, Alexandra Barberena, Bert Pringle, Catherine Turcott, Jamie Whitecrow, lwrds duniam, Nakisha Millien, Nigel Edwards, Rinchen Dolma, Tenzin Dechen
Extras: Ailyn Malit, Angela Vargas, Carolina Brown, Jaene Castrillon, Joel Zola, Kinoo Arcentales, Lissette Perez, Marcos Arcentales, Patricia Cajas, Rebeccah Jacobs, Ryan Hayes, Sana Saleem, Sanjeev Kugan, Vero Diaz
Thank you to: Music Arts team at Sketch Working Arts, LIFT, Niagara Custom Lab, imagineNATIVE, Coral Aiken, Jaene Castrillon, Jamie Whitecrow, Anna Kipervaser, my family, and the entire cast and crew
Video and projection mapping give me the opportunity to work outside the box. Through video design and performance, installation work, and even vjing, I transform blank areas into vibrant spaces.
Live Pottery Performance by Ailyn Malit. Photos by Jahmal Nugent
In collaboration with Ailyn Malit, set to music curated by Nigel Edwards, I developed 3D animations and used projection mapping to magnify the power of earth work. From Ailyn’s wheel flows energy towards the audience, spreading like roots. The slowly blooming flower grows as the ceramic piece becomes more defined.
Still of performance What Democracy Feels Like. Photo by Jahmal Nugent.
In a combination of projection mapping and performance, I speak of the political turmoil in my home country Ecuador in 2015. Indigenous peoples from around the nation gathered in protest of the support the left-wing government was giving to extractive industries. Videos of the natural environment become replaced by hundreds of people mobilizing as I speak through the microphone using sound triggers.
Superwonder Gallery (Left). Margin of Eras Gallery (Right)
Work in collaboration with Lost Is Found, both vjing, and video design for performance
Workshop Presentation of Circus Injuns and Side Show Freaks by Chocolate Woman Collective (2017)
A distressed woman is urged by an encounter with a sleep paralysis demon to confront her deepest horror. Driven deep into her subconscious, she must choose to save herself or be eaten.
Set photo for The Ceremony Film. Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation. 2018
Taina Da Silva & Becca Redden / 16’ / Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) / English subs
150 years from now, two warrior siblings document their community, who survived climate change, and become the focus of an event that will change them forever.
Will You Listen?: Latinx Voices in Tkaronto
Will You Listen?: Latinx Voices in Tkaronto is a collection of stories which explore how people of colour experience public spaces. Centering the lives of women and non binary latinx identified people, this exhibit contextualizes urban stories and histories often buried in the mainstream white experience. While chronicling their brave journeys visually on a map, these stories highlight personal power and self-healing in the face of feelings of insecurity, unacceptance and heteropatriarchal power struggles.
WUL Exhibit at Whippersnapper Gallery. Photo by Jahmal Nugent
Participants share personal aspirations, stories tied to their loved ones, and accounts of being let down by general social negation. Each story is a “window” into the labour and necessary resilience that each of these individuals face, calling attention to the effects that external pressures have on Latinx bodies, particularly those of indigenous, black, queer, and genderqueer people.
The underlying map of present day Tkaronto ground these stories to place and land. These “windows” imprint real memories and inextricably tie them to the places in which they occur. In doing so, these spaces carry the struggles and resilience of LGBTQ Latinx people and other migrants who have become settlers, visitors, and/or guests on this land.
It's first iteration was a series of short documentaries highlighting the stories of 5 Latinx identified individuals and was showcased at Platform A's 2016 A show. This project reincarnated in 2017 as a projection based installation that was exhibited at Toronto's artist run Whippersnapper Gallery.
This project was funded by Platform A, VIBE Arts, Toronto Arts Council, and Whippersnapper’s PEERS PROJECTS, which is generously supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
The shame of not knowing how to speak Kichwa becomes more real than ever before. Through trials and errors, different women attempt to learn but find themselves frustrated. The foods that they eat suddenly speak to them. These traditional foods offer words of warning and failure. But as the women become stronger, these words become ones of hope and encouragement.
Rimanakuna Still Image
Rimanakuna Still Image
Made possible through SEEKers, facilitated by Alejandra Higuera and Sandra Brewster. Created at TAIS
Annex Audio Tour
Dedicated to family, Mi Familia Annex Audio Tour uncovers the hidden histories of the gentrified Annex neighbourhood in Toronto. My family guides you through a short walk through the Annex, as we engage in music and story telling. It is a story of migration, struggle, and celebration.
photo of Bloor and Bathurst. Taken by Samay Arcentales Cajas
This is an audio tour dedicated to my family, uncovering our hidden histories within the Annex neighbourhood beginning in the 1970’s, a period when the very first Ecuadorian migrants came to live in Toronto. My family will guide you as we engage in music and storytelling with a few stops along the way to highlight particular relevant stories. From my great grandmother working in a laundromat on Bathurst, my grandmother’s first office job in Canada in Honest Eds, to my dad playing on the streets. These are just a few stories of many. It is intended to serve as a historical archive to highlight the stories of migrants that are often hidden by gentrification processes. Historical accounts of the Annex demonstrate and highlight only the existence and accomplishments of white “Canadians”, while ignoring the presence and lives of migrants, as if they did not exist. This is done without forgetting whose land it is we settled. My family has had different ways of creating relationships with indigenous peoples, who also form an important part of this neighbourhood, by engaging together through music and art. This has been a particular aspect of my family, who is also indigenous, though of another land, which is different from other migrant Ecuadorian families. This relationship has developed and carried on for decades, something that a few of the stories in the audio tour tell of.
3 women reveal never-before shared stories and secrets from their lives in a theatrical dismantling of gender and cultural expectations. Their inner-most desires, frustrations, hopes, fears, and triumphs take centre stage in this deeply personal, collectively-created piece.
Created by: Samay Arcentales, Rafia Salam, Anne Vo
Director: Ali Joy Richardson
Featuring: Samay Arcentales, Rafia Salam, Anne Vo
Stage Manager: Thilini Seevakireedam
Lighting: Echo Zhou
Sound: Deanna Galati
Set Designers: Annie Chen,Celine Doan, Alma Gul, Sivaranjani Kanagaratnam, Nadia Salam
Facilitator and Producer: Jijo Quayson
Producer: Deanna Galati
Special Thanks: Jessica Fleming, Amanda Pileggi, Regent Park Film Festival
Photo by Taku Kumabe
We Are XX Crew during Toronto Fringe Festival 2016
From left to right: Megan Moran (Director), Thilini Seevakireedam (Stage Manager), Samay Arcentales Cajas (Actor), Rafia Salam (Actor), Anne Vo (Actor), Deanna Galati (Producer).