Mythologies and Legends from Latin America

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Latin America is a vast melting pot of ancestries, ethnicities, and races including communities of black and indigenous descent. It is a region with a rich culture and history of oral storytelling passed down through generations. The importance of honoring their impact on the region is vital as they tend to be written out of the narrative in popular media. 


Before the influences of Spain, France and Portugal arrived on the shores of Latin America. During Pre-Hispanic times, the region was dominated by indigenous tribes like the Maya, Toltecs, Aztec, Purepecha and more. The effects of colonialism have hindered new generations from learning and identifying with their ancestral roots. Efforts to deconstruct the societal constructs built by the colonial period have begun. Latinx communities in the U.S. have taken initiative by moving away from identifying with terms like Hispanic and embracing the gender-neutral term Latinx and Latine. 


Mythology & Legends 

Mythologies are usually a combination of real events, folklore, regional superstitions, and legends that create a wider—but not necessarily interconnected—system of cultural beliefs (Southern Exploration, 2019). They were essential for tribes in Latin America as they were used to make sense of the world around them. In the Incan empire, mythologies were often used to explain the mystery behind existence, provide moral guidelines, and break down their societies hierarchy to its citizens. For the Mayan tribe, many of their mythology and legends have been reconstructed through artifacts and oral storytellers such as The Defeat of the Crocodile, a creature who caused a flood in turn creating the cosmos. In Chile, legends have been used to describe how the typography in the region came to be. For example, Chilean legend has it that thousands of years ago a battle between Trentren Vilu—the god of earth—and Caicai Vilu—god of water—morphed the Chilean province during their epic confrontation. Musica Mythology actually inspired the animated movie The Road To El Dorado (2000), a legend that had its origins when Spaniards landed in Colombia and began calling the mythical tribe chief who covered himself in gold, “El Hombre Dorado.” The legend then evolved within retellings into a city, becoming the ancestral long lost golden empire. 


New Wave of Cinema 

As new generations deconstruct the effects of colonialism, many have begun incorporating and embracing indigenous cultures from South & Central Latin America in Film & Television, such as in the upcoming Netflix limited series Maya And The Three (2021). The story is based on a Mesoamerican warrior, a spirited princess who embarks on a mission to fulfill an ancient prophecy and save humanity from the wrath of vengeful gods. The series is by Jorge Gutierrez, the creator that brought you The Book of Life (2014) & Son of Jaguar (2017). It will also be produced by Silvia Olivias, speaker on the “Animate, Elevate & Activate” panel from the upcoming 2021 Latino Media Fest. The future of cinema looks promising as trailblazing filmmakers begin introducing Latin American mythology into the mainstream. 


Latino Media Fest 2021

Are you interested in attending an immersive experience with a lineup of amazing panels, speakers, and short films created by the latest Latine filmmakers? Finish Latinx Heritage Month the right way by attending the 2021 Latino Media Fest on Oct 13-14th streamed anywhere from the Bizzabo app. The Latino Media Fest is the unique presenter of the best U.S. Latinx content across all media platforms: narrative short films, TV/streaming pilots, digital content, documentary shorts, and tech narratives (VR/AR/XR). The Fest brings together Latinx filmmakers, industry reps, executives, and film aficionados for a 2-day event to celebrate the Latinx work making waves in the industry, as well as to support the next generation of industry leaders. Join us and grab your pass here: