'Mined to Death' Documentary Film

The documentary was a project of 2003-04 MITH Fellow Regina Harrison. It depicts miners in Potosi, Bolivia, who extract silver, zinc, and lead from the mountain in the same precarious conditions as their ancestors did five centuries ago. Tourist agencies and transnational mining companies promise to bring in additional revenue for the miners, but it is apparent that the ‘rich’ mountain is dying. For this work Harrison received the Latin American Studies Association 2006 “Award of Merit in Film,” which is given for “excellence in the visual presentation of educational and artistic materials on Latin America.” Harrison is also the recipient of book awards from the Modern Language Association and the Latin American Studies Association. The project was filmed with the MITH Canon GL1 digital camera in 2003 and 2004, but the 2004 digital cassettes were stolen in Bolivia after three weeks of filming. Despite this setback, she then bought her own Canon GL2 to return to the labyrinth of mine tunnels to film again in 2005. Harrison, as a MITH fellow, received training in film technique from MITH fellow April Householder and from MITH Advisory Board member Irvin Kershner. Campus funding from CAPA, MITH, and ARHU DRI funds, as well as maintenance funds from Fulbright-Hays, helped defray the costs of several years of travel, filming, and editing.