An Ethnographic Documentary
An ethnographic documentary that showcases the everyday complexity of conservation in practice in Costa Rica's biodiversity hot spot - the Osa Peninsula - Lifting the Green Screen (Tras el Velo Verde) opens a window into the lives of activists, farmers, and entrepreneurs.
Concurrent with the growing sense of alarm regarding environmental degradation, climate change, and species loss, Costa Rica has been increasing its status as a leader in ecotourism, a “greening” nation of remarkable biodiversity, and a country that centralizes its environmental politics in influential ways. Our documentary, Lifting the Green Screen, follows Costa Rican environmentalists, burgeoning campesino-led ecotourism initiatives, and socio-environmental conflicts in the rural and biodiversity-rich Osa Peninsula. Rather than focusing only on the famed gold miners or extolling the unique biodiversity of the region and its “protectors,” this film more broadly covers the debates over environmentalism in practice and local responses to land controls. It explores practices at the interaction of protecting subsistence, biodiversity conservation, and ventures afforded by the growing tourism dominated economy.
Conservationist practice in the Osa Peninsula represents a conflict-ridden, ambiguous, and polarizing phenomenon, entangled with Costa Rica’s history of elite domination over the extraction and use of resources, indoctrination, and the influence of external interests and global agendas.
Shot over one month and a half in the biodiversity-rich Osa Peninsula but based on long-term anthropological fieldwork, Lifting the Green Screen (Tras el Velo Verde) follows Costa Rican environmentalists, burgeoning ecotourism initiatives, and socio-environmental conflicts in the Osa region. Through the collection of ethnographic vignettes, interviews, personal narratives and the use of participatory visual methods, this ethnographic documentary provides a multi-faceted account of the different manifestations of environmentalism in the region, including government policies, NGO activity, environmental education, grass roots activism, and ecotourism.
Departing from the common focus upon “big data,” top-down and institutional narratives, the film seeks to explore how people locally interpret environmental preservation and take action; how local understandings and discourses relate to and differ from the state discourses; and how people contest the governmental and trans-local agendas reframing the issues of social and environmental justice.
Revealing environmentalism to be a more complex phenomenon than the static monolithic entity depicted by its diverse proponents, the film foregrounds the importance of understanding the entanglement of knowledge, power, and competing regimes of value in the political ecology of the “greenest country of the world."
Director / Writer
Claudia is a London based anthropologist and filmmaker. She completed her PhD in Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she taught Anthropology of Art, Gender Theory and Visual Anthropology.
Claudia has been conducting long-term ethnographic fieldwork in rural Mexico, researching the role of theatre in ethnic identity’s formation processes, and the impact of tourism and development programs on the indigenous population. Concurrently, her work is concerned with exploring the practical, aesthetic and ethical implications of using film as an experimental means of knowing a cultural reality.
Claudia has produced several short documentaries across different countries, including Mexico, France, Hungary, India, Germany, UK, Greece, and Costa Rica. Her first feature documentary, The Campfire Project, has been screened and awarded internationally.
Producer / Writer / Researcher
A New York City-based cultural anthropologist, Clate currently teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and holds a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London. He has taught anthropology courses at Goldsmiths and Bard College’s Bard Prison Initiative. His dissertation, Environmentalisms in Practice: From National Policy to Grassroots Activism in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula (2018), became the premise for Lifting the Green Screen (Tras el Velo Verde). In particular, Clate has developed scholarship at the intersection of political ecology, environmental theory, socio-political justice, and conservation.
With a lifelong interest in visual and performing arts, Clate has completed courses at the New York Film Academy and Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. From landscape and travel photography to writing and performing on stage, he has recognized storytelling to be a compelling vehicle for creative expression. Especially at the critical confluence of environmental health and socio-political justice, visual narrative and ethnographic storytelling become vital.
Co- Producer / Writer / Audio Operation
Matteo Saltalippi was born in 1982 in Perugia (Italy). He has a PhD in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths, University of London. His works focus on art, labour and migration. He has worked as a film director, producer, and sound person. He has directed documentaries on labour struggle in Italy (Biographies of Struggle 2017, co-directed with Greca Campus), and he is currently working on a documentary about volunteers supporting migrants in the Balkans.
Matteo has also worked as an assistant and guest lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, which included courses on the anthropology of art, visual anthropology, social change, and political economy.
A Curbside View Production
DIRECTED By Claudia Giannetto
WRITTEN By Clate Korsant, Claudia Giannetto, and Matteo Saltalippi
PRODUCED By Clate Korsant
CO-PRODUCER Matteo Saltalippi
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Clate Korsant
EDITOR Andrea Giannone
CINEMATOGRAPHERS Andrea Giannone and Domenico Catano
COLORIST Andrea Gadaleta Caldarola
SOUND DESIGNER Nicola Frattegiani