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La casa de Mama Icha - a documentary film by Oscar Molina
After 33 years as a Colombian émigré in the United States, 93-year-old Mama Icha wants to go home. In the land of her birth, in a small town burrowed into the Magdalena River Valley, a house awaits her, a house she funded piece by piece with money she earned in the States. But her long-imagined homecoming is no easy return. The house that she patiently built through years of savings and transnational contracting is crumbling due to the tensions of the pending bills and the increasingly deteriorated family relationships. This is a story of reverse migration. It is a story about the dream to return home. A story of a mother, a dispersed family, a longing, a striving for agency, for rootedness.
For more information about La casa de Mama Icha
We are almost there!
The feature documentary The House of Mama Icha is about to be completed! We have walked this long way along with Mama Icha's presence, great professionals & accomplices, and the deep believe in the strength and the beauty of this project. RIGHT NOW we are in advanced postduction. For completing this very last step we need YOUR SUPPORT.
About the story
What we offer you
As a filmmaker who has worked in short films, television and audience development, I have devoted myself to this project over the last six years both as a deep personal commitment to the wishes of Mama Icha, and as a mirror to my own experiences of finally returning to live in my home country of Colombia after several years away.
In 1997, I was living and working in Japan. Here, I began hearing accounts of migrants from economically less developed countries who were driven to economically more developed countries by one burning pursuit: to save their earnings so they could build a dream house in their home countries. Some had already had built their houses with remittances and had simply not yet been able to return to dwell in them, houses they had never seen in person and that stood empty for years, mausoleums to a dream deferred.
As I gathered more and more of these stories through my experiences in Japan and across the United States, I asked myself: why do people have to go away from their homes in order to build a house in their homeland? What is the nature of home when refracted through the experience of migration? It was here that the idea was born to document this dream of returning to a house built with love and via significant transnational effort. “La Casa de Mama Icha” is a feature documentary that tells one story behind this dream. Making documentaries about this phenomenon is one way I have found to express nonconformity with a system designed to prevent a large portion of the world’s population from reaching conditions of self-development and prosperity.
I first met Mama Icha in 2013 while I was living in Philadelphia. Her granddaughter, Michelle Angela Ortiz, with whom I had worked on an artistic project, invited me to her parents’ house in order to share common Colombian traditions. From there on, Mama Icha and I developed a deep relationship, spending long afternoons talking about Colombia and her long-delayed dream of returning. Parallel to this encounter, I was researching stories behind the houses that migrants build with remittances in their places of origin and which – many times – they never manage to inhabit.
“La Casa de Mama Icha” is an intimate and subtle observational portrait which follows Icha through her journey from Philadelphia (in which director Oscar Molina was the only person to accompany her on the return journey) to reclaim the home she built over 30 years with remittances in Mompox, Colombia. The camera is a character in and a witness to the struggle to reassemble a family fragmented by migration. Visually, “La Casa de Mama Icha” approaches physical spaces and daily life through serene and poetic images, which in their aesthetic quietude, balance the dizzying development of events.
The film portrays with complicity the heroic character of Mama Icha; a woman who courageously faces both the economic and familial difficulties of returning home during the final chapter of her life. Inside the global phenomenon of remittance houses, she embodies the common dream of many migrants to dwell in these houses before dying. In the process of thinking, discussing, and refining ideas about belonging in a context traversed by migration and economic inequality, the powerful story of Maria Dionisia Navarro – Mama Icha – gave me great insight into the force of rootedness and the courage needed to confront the legacies of migration when returning home. Our team will continue to explore such stories in the transmedia documentary project, MI CASA MY HOME.
We have great news!
We have a distributor in Colombia! INCREDIBLE! So, we will be in Colombian cinemas on May 14th, 2020. We hope very much that during the international festival circuit which might be starting in the first semester 2020, we will have the opportunity to talk to international distributors interested in bringing this film to other audiences.
This Project has already gained special attention during the invitation to several markets and workshops and also through some grants. If you want to know more: HERE
Welcome to our family!
We will publish a huge THANK YOU in our social media and keep you informed about everything going on with the film.
FLOR DEL BONCHE
MANGO + you will receive a high-resolution film still from the most beautiful images of La casa de Mama Icha. You can choose between eight different images of unpublished material shot by Oscar Molina.
Every thing above + a beautiful kitchen towel made with natural cotton and printed with the logo and slogan of the film.
Every thing above + the poster from the film signed by the director, Oscar Molina.
The image you see below is not the original poster!
Every thing above + La Madre, La Hija, y El Espíritu Buscando special limited edition of 50 digital archival prints signed by the artist Michelle Angela Ortiz, granddaughter to Mama Icha.
FLOR DEL BONCHE + a weekend (three days, two nights for two people) in an antique house in the middle of the forest in Santa Elena (nearby Medellín) together with director Oscar Molina and/or producer, Brenda I. Steinecke Soto. It includes yoga class every morning, all meals (also vegetarian) and hikes in the forest. It does not include the flight tickets to Medellín. It includes the transport from the airport to the farm and back to the airport.
Everything above + the credit as Associate Producer