Bolivian Animated Film “Abuela Grillo” Highlights Water Issues


Abuela Grillo, an adorable – though equally tear-jerking – animated short-film, calls attention to Bolivia’s fraught history with water privatization.  The film is a collaboration between Bolivian animators and the Animation Workshop of Denmark.  The Abuela Grillo character is based on a myth from the Bolivian lowlands, but the film tells the story of a historic moment in Bolivian water politics.

Water issues reached a boiling point in 2000 after water privatization legislation led to a significant spike in prices for Bolivian citizens. Demonstrations rocked Cochabamba in what is also known as the Cochabamba Water Wars.  Though they began as peaceful protests, demonstrations quickly  grew violent, leading to dozens of civilian and police injuries and casualties.  Then President Hugo Banzer was forced to resign.

This animated film takes you on  journey with Abuella Grillo (Grandmother Grasshopper), who walks through rural and urban landscapes with a raincloud constantly looming over her shoulder.  She encounters various obstacles as the film weaves a sad – and deeply symbolic – tale of environmental exploitation and government corruption.

Read more about Abuela Grillo on ColorLines.

Posted by Von Diaz – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU

Published by Von Diaz

Von Diaz is a writer and radio producer based in New York City. She is a self-taught cook who explores Puerto Rican food, culture, and identity through memoir and multimedia. Her work has been featured on NPR, American Public Media, StoryCorps, WNYC, PRI’s The World, BuzzFeed, Colorlines, and Feet in 2 Worlds.

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