(This story was updated March 22 to correct the site of the March 23 workshop.)
The Andes mountains are a dream backdrop for filmmakers hoping to capture the dramatic natural landscape — but the region also drew filmmaker Jeffrey Wium to Peru for a deeper reason.
Back in 2002, Wium sought wisdom from Peruvians paqos — peruvian shamans or healers — whose spiritual traditions are a part of their everyday lives.
Wium was enamored with the beauty, mystery and deep love behind the paqos' practices. After many trips to Peru in the past few years, he learned enough from paqos in the high Andes near Cuzco to become a paqo himself.
He has now created a new documentary about the seldom-documented lives of the Peruvian spiritual practitioners.
"Wisdomkeepers: Paqo Andino" tells a visual story about the breathtaking Andes mountains and its inhabitants, focusing on the daily spiritual traditions, such as ceremonies honoring the earth and fertility and healing ceremonies.
"It's a profound and powerful eco-spiritual" film, said Therese Wells, a member of Boulder-based Indigenous Alchemy, a group of shamanic practitioners who teach the community about ancient sacred healing traditions by hosting workshops and events.
"Wisdomkeepers" will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Unity Church, 2855 Folsom St. Tickets are $15 in advance at paqoandino.com or $20 at the door.
There also will be a one-day workshop about paqos and Peruvian spirituality on March 23 at the Living Arts Center Studio at Bodywork Bistro, 3825 Iris Ave, Suite 300, in Boulder.
The film is meant to be as much a spiritual celebration as it is a celebration of the breathtaking environment where some of the film's Peruvian shamans live: Steep, white-capped mountains, expanses of emerald green hills and clear, high-altitude skies.
Wium, who has an interest in several world spiritual traditions, has traveled to China, Tibet, Nepal and India.
Wium said the film aims to capture the paqos' attitudes toward loving kindness, sanctity of life, environmental sustainability efforts and appreciation of the remote and beautiful regions of Peru where they have lived for generations.
"The word paqo means 'gate' ... and that is the role of the paqo, to hold open the gate for others to connect through a lineage that is still intact," Wium said.
Wium said "Wisdomkeepers" follows a lineage of shamans who are rarely filmed, in part because they live in remote areas high in the Andes.
The film has no narration and little dialogue — except for some conversations translated from Quechua. Wium aims to let the paqos' daily lives and actions tell the story instead of providing an in-depth analysis.
Although Wium is based mostly out of Kauai, Hawaii, he visits Boulder four or five times a year, Wells said.
"Wisdomkeepers" has been screened before in Boulder, but Wells said the next round of screenings is meant to touch a wider audience curious about Peru's shamanistic background.
Wells traveled to Peru in 2012 to study with paqos near Cuzco and fell in love with the people and their livelihoods. The film reminded her of the inspiring beauty and energy of her trip, she said.
"You feel the prayer and sanctity in the film," she said.
The Boulder screenings are supported in part by Indigenous Alchemy. The group also hosted Boulder's first Shamanic Conference last year.
The next shamanic conference in June also will include a screening of "Wisdomkeepers."
For tickets to upcoming showings of "Wisdomkeepers," visit indigenous-alchemy.com/#!wisdomkeepers/c1s5d.
For more information about "Wisdomkeepers," visit paqoandino.com.
Megan Quinn writes a weekly faith column for the Camera. Contact her at 303-410-2649 or firstname.lastname@example.org