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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

Birds of Passage

by directors Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra

All that happens in our dreams is what happens in our souls… If the dream dies, the body won’t wake up again… As its soul has flown away forever.

The so-called “Bonanza Marimbera” marked the first heyday of drug trafficking in Colombia. It occurred in the Northern Caribbean Region during the 1970s and early ‘80s, and it was the beginning of everything—the first warning of what the country would experience in the following decades. It was the loss of innocence for a society that would eventually give in entirely to illegality, and would be forced to pay for it in blood ever since.

It is also one of our great untold stories.

Birds of Passage is the story of a traditional, centuries old culture, the Wayúu of the Colombian Guajira, trying to deal with the violent arrival of modernity. It is the story of the sudden transformation of Colombia, a country which went from being a predominantly rural society to a chaotic urban one in very little time. This transformation took place in an abrupt, ravaging way, and from there we inherited most of the conflicts and difficulties we still suffer today.

But it is above all the story of a family, inserted in a matriarchal society, where the mothers are the leaders, always guided by dreams and spirits. A story of love and honor, of armed, weak and impulsive men and visionary, strong, powerful women; taking place in a land half real-half dreamt, a place populated by colorful, mythical beings, who are able to turn abruptly from human into animal, capable of the utmost generosity as well as the bloodiest violence.

It is our hope that this story, which may seem familiar to you, reveals a world unlike anything you’ve seen before.

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