“Water is life” is a truth the people of Todos Santos know well. A small, historic community in the Baja Peninsula, the town relies on both the fishermen’s access to the Pacific and on a limited supply of potable water. But in a tale all too familiar, the idyllic location has been targeted by a massive American development company, aiming at building a “spa and wellness community” whose foundation unsurprisingly turns out to be built more on underhanded dealings with a private Mexican firm, lies to the town of Todos Santos, and bulldozed mangroves than on concrete. In the balance lies the immediate livelihood of the residents of Todos Santos–either the spa goes or they do.
Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teale’s film Patrimonio follows the story of the community of Todos Santos as they fight to protect their historic stewardship of the land and sea. Jackson and Teale have a light touch, primarily relying on footage of the town’s meetings, rallies and subsequent actions–allowing the subjects of the film to tell their own story. Presented as a David and Goliath story, what is most important and salient in the film is that it is the story told the way the Davids choose to tell it.–Zuzu Rebecca Myers