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OSEA Seeks Documentary Filmmaker for Ethnographic Film

Ideal for Masters Student in Film or Early Career Professional
The selected person will collaborate with the director and staff of OSEA to produce and edit an ethnographic film on Maya artists and artisans who create and market contemporary art and handicrafts at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, México.  The film is to focus on the revitalization of pre-Columbian Maya aesthetics that drives this contemporary Maya art tradition and the struggle of contemporary Maya to develop their art in the context of the massive international tourism industry of the region and the government promotion of tourist art for this market.  The film will have shared authorship with Dr. Quetzil Castañeda, director of OSEA—The Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology.  This is not an employment position.

Qualifications:  Significant training, practical experience, and expertise in:

  • Cinematography and production of film
  • postproduction editing of documentary or ethnographic film
  • use of professional digital video camera
  • use of professional sound production equipment
  • use of professional lighting equipment
  • use of Adobe Creative Suite 4/5 Production and other similar editing software
  • preproduction and production of documentary film
  • Spanish fluency

In addition we are looking for someone who has:

  • knowledge and practical understanding of the differences between documentary and ethnographic genres and styles of production and postproduction
  • has ability to lead basic workshops in the arts and technologies of documentary and ethnographic cinematography and filmmaking to train undergraduate ethnography students in the basics of visual ethnography
  • owns or has access to the essential professional production and postproduction equipment necessary to carry the project to completion

This position is open to definition depending on the candidate’s qualifications, experience and ability to contribute to the successful completion of the project in a timely manner.  Candidates are assessed for the kind of role that is most suitable for their participation.  Position roles range from Intern Filmographer to Junior and Senior Collaborator.

  • Intern position, for a less qualified /experienced person seeking an experience and opportunity to produce a substantial and significant intellectual product. Position is ideal for a film/anthropology student seeking to collaborate on a major project that could serve as a thesis or dissertation or as a major first professional career project.
  • Junior / Senior collaborator emerging professionals who have or are creating a track record of scripting, producing, editing documentary and/or ethnographic films.  Ideal for experienced, established scholar/filmmaker  seeking to expand their area of work/expertise through collaboration with a senior scholar.


Time frame
The person must be able to participate in the OSEA Summer Field Study Abroad program in México during a 4 to 8 week period from June 2013 to early August 2013. Exact dates are negotiable.  Postproduction begins in August with completion in fall 2013 or spring 2014.


Benefits vary according to the qualifications and experience of the candidate and what they are able to contribute to the project and specific working relationship that is defined.  Shared authorship implies that the candidate contributes financially to cover their participation in a joint project, specifically in the form of airfare and part or all meals; lodging is provided. 


Project History and Collaboration
>Quetzil Castañeda is a leading scholar on the Maya. He has been working on Maya culture, tourism development, ethnography of archaeology, and politics of heritage for twenty years in the community of Pisté near Chichén Itzá.  He brings to the project unparalleled expertise in these subject areas and has a significant publication record specifically on the topic of contemporary Maya art (see below).  In addition, Castañeda collaborated with Jeff Himpele (Princeton) in the production of the award-winning visual ethnography, Incidents of Travel in Chichén Itzá (DER, 1997). 

See Castañeda’s profiles for more details and relevant publication record, at

The ideal candidate will work with Castañeda to develop in-depth one-on-one and focus group interviews with artisans and artists, government authorities and other locals, as well as do visual ethnographic study of the production and marketing of the art and handicrafts of this Maya community and the tourist market of Chichén Itzá.


Interested Persons
Please send a detailed cover letter discussing your credentials, experience, training, career/professional goals; your motivations and interests in collaborating with Castañeda and OSEA, as well as your understanding of how you can contribute to the project and OSEA research programs; either or both of an academic curriculum vitae and a professional resume, including a filmography of works you authored or participated in the creation; and contact info of three references. DVDs of completed documentary or artistic film or visual ethnographies, at least one.  Please ask your references to send letters directly by email.

Send documents in pdf to .
Send hardcopies & DVD to Quetzil Castañeda, 2244 Martha Street, Bloomington IN 47408




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