Miguel Hilari


Miguel Hilari (Aymara) is a filmmaker and artist born in Hamburg, Germany, of German/Aymara descent. His practice is concerned with memory, Indigenous identity, migration, and colonial and labour histories, especially as they concern Indigenous people in the Andean and Altiplano regions of South America. He received a BA in Film from the Catholic University of Bolivia (2010) and an MA in Documentary Filmmaking from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2012). He also studied media arts at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (2008) and script writing at the International School of Film and TV in Cuba (2011). His films Des de Baix (2013), El corral y el viento (2014), Compañia (2019), and Cerro Saturno (2022) have been exhibited at festivals, museums, and microcinemas worldwide, including Cinéma du Réel, CPH:DOX, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Visions du Réel, BAFICI, Images Festival, Lincoln Center, Lima Alterna, and Valdivia International Film Festival, among many others. He is the recipient of awards, fellowships, and grants, including a Flaherty Fellowship (2018), a Sesterce d'argent George Reinhart Award for Best Medium Length Film from Visions du Réel (2019), Best Film from FIDOCS (2014), the Alanis Obomsawin Award from  imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (2019), and fellowships from Akademie der Künste (2021) and Stadtkünstler (2022). He was a COUSIN collective Cycle II artist (2020–2021), in support of his film Cerro Saturno (2022). He is a founding member of Socavón Cine collective, and coordinates the Festival de Cine Radical in La Paz, Bolivia, where he lives and works as an independent director and producer. 

ONLINE SCREENING DATES: January 9 – January 30, 2023

FILMS IN THIS PROGRAM: Cerro Saturno, 13 min, 2022; Bocamina, 22 min, 2019; Compañia, 60 min, 2019.
This series is co-selected and presented with COUSIN collective and is generously funded by a Digital Now grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Cerro Saturno, 13 min, 2022

Amid the lunar landscapes of the Bolivian mountains, the few traces of human presence seem minuscule, anecdotal. Shot by shot, Miguel Hilari’s camera follows these clues that lead to the city and its sonic confusion, where faces are captured with the same attention and poetry as the environment in which they live. – Visions du Réel

Bocamina, 22 min, 2019

Filmed in the Bolivian city of Potosí, Bocamina concerns the miners who work in Cerro Rico, the mountain of silver ore that overlooks the city. Emerging from the darkness, faces begin a dialogue with those from years long past. – Film at Lincoln Center

Compañia, 60 min, 2019

In Bolivia, in a small mountain village, the daily rhythm seems marked by a time that no longer exists, by nature’s invisible forces, by the will of the gods. In this place where there is no longer a difference between dreams and reality, during the festival of the dead, one can almost hear the voices of those who are no longer there, creating an invisible bridge between past and present. Compañía offers a nearly mystical journey between ancestral traditions and the modern world, between the individual and the community, highlighting the unfathomable distance that separates us from our cultural heritage. A necessary discussion on the situation of the native peoples of America, forced to adapt to a system of social organisation that is not theirs. A contemporary ethnographical vision. – Elena López Riera

These films centre on issues that concern me: movement and migration, tensions between generations, indigenous identity, rural and urban landscapes. In many ways, these matters are central to Bolivia’s contemporary experience. While making the films, I was less interested in storytelling and more focused on evoking a certain place or moment while making use of observational perspectives and montage. – Miguel Hilari

Watch an interview with Miguel Hilari at CiNEOLA.

Read a Spanish-language review of Cerro Saturno at desistfilm.

All stills, photographs, and artwork courtesy © Miguel Hilari. Screening co-presented with Three Fold Press, Detroit.