(Documentary Feature, 1 hr 14 mins)
Synopsis: Burning Paradise is a story about carboneros - indigenous charcoal makers - who are slowly and reluctantly destroying their forests just to earn enough to eat. The only other choice they have is to migrate. The film does not focus on data or statistics and offers no solutions. To the extent that it reflects five years of living with Indigenous peoples in the sierra Mixteca de Oaxaca, it offers viewers an opportunity to relate to indigenous Oaxacans in visceral, non rhetorical terms. The thesis of the film simply is that migration for these people is an environmental issue, and so contrary to our rhetorical ideas of “migrants,” they are instead presented as displaced and indispensable assets in the fight for maintaining biodiversity.
Director: Greg Rainoff spent twenty years in Hollywood as a visual effects artist during which time he won four Emmys for his work on the Star Trek Television series. Upon leaving LA he went to the border where he learned Spanish, earned a graduate degree in Latin American studies and completed his first film "el Muro", about the social and environmental effects of the border wall separating San Diego and Tijuana. His most recent work, "Burning Paradise" is about indigenous charcoal makers in the sierra Mixteca. He now resides in Oaxaca where he continues to study the relationship between migration and environmental degradation.