Last December our team traveled with the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) to the mountains and forests of Zitácuaro, Mexico. Our mission was to film a case study of a family-run rainbow trout farm, and show how the farm integrated with its surrounding environment and impacted the local economy.
The rainbow trout farm’s beauty exceeded all expectations. Built on a hill just above a roaring waterfall, and tucked under a leafy canopy, the farm was practically a park. It was also a model of sustainability and local productivity. We were able to see first-hand how the farm provided a high-quality, healthy food source in “las truchas”, and gainful employment for local workers, all while leaving the smallest of ecological footprints. Equally impressive was the warm, welcoming family who ran the farm. We had the opportunity to follow them in their daily lives, and for a few days see the world through their eyes.
We travelled with a three-person video production team, and several colleagues from GAA who led our expedition. We were fortunate to have a skilled guide who was fluent in Spanish and familiar with the landscape and local customs.
Our team on the Shave Media side was Ken Marcou (DP), Alex Pickering (MoVI and Drone Operator), and David Jackel (Field Producer). We travelled as lightly as possible, while still bringing along a substantial arsenal of filming equipment. We shot with Canon and Sony cinema cameras, several DSLRs, and even a point-and-shoot camera packed in water-tight casing for underwater shots with the fish. To bring dynamic movement to our shots, we used a triple-axis gimbal, a remote motorized panning device, and a drone. We captured most of our audio with wireless lavaliere mics, but also used a field recorder at times to pick up environmental sounds.
Packing lights is always a challenge when working with limited space, which is why we used battery powered LED light sticks. They were durable, practically weightless, and packed up tightly. These lights allowed us to discretely light backgrounds as well as our subjects, and were easy to move and adjust.
In additional to filming the farm and the family home, we also shot b roll footage around the city of Zitácuaro, and took an expedition into the remote mountain sanctuary of the monarch butterflies, an ecological wonder and source of local pride. And of course we got to sample Mexican cuisine, including plenty of rainbow trout. We left Zitácuaro with a new appreciation for aquaculture and Mexico’s natural beauty and vibrant culture.
GAA has just released the film, “THE FARMER: Citlali Gomez.” This film will be the first installment in their upcoming series of short films highlighting the people and practices behind sustainable aquaculture production.
We greatly enjoyed working with GAA on this project and look forward to future endeavors together!