El Tren Popular de la Cultura is a film documentary which tells the story of an initiative of the government of Salvador Allende, President of Chile from 1970 to 1973, the objective of which was to bring culture closer to those who had no access to it. The People’s Train of Culture was part of the 40th measure of Allende’s programme of government which aimed to create a National Institute of Arts and Culture and colleges of art in all the country’s provinces.
The story of the Train looks to establish links with some aspects of the educational and cultural initiatives of Spain’s Second Republic, such as the Pedagogic Missions, the Theatre of the People, the Theatre of La Barraca, or with other previous experiences such as the agitprop trains of the Russian Revolution.
In Chile in February 1971, sixty artists travelled by train more than 1,000 kilometres south of the capital, bringing different artistic disciplines to people who had no access to forms of cultural representation. Forming a caravan of poets, folklorists, singers, comics, actors and actresses and even mimes, they performed day after day before the expectant eyes of the peasants of Linares or Chillán, the coal miners of Lota, indigenous Mapuche workers, or to the south of Puerto Montt.
Forty years on, there is a need to tell this almost forgotten story, for which there exists very little documentation. It is a story which involved not only artists but also journalists, sociologists, some politicians, officials, and ordinary people. All believed fervently that the Chilean road to socialism was an important vehicle for bringing culture to the least favoured sectors of society.
The chilean sociologist Tomás Moulián says that the government of Salvador Allende “was at the same time party, drama and defeat”. The majority of those who have referred to this experience, either via historical analysis or personal testimony, have placed emphasis on its drama and defeat, but almost never to its “party” aspect. This documentary aims to recover the enormous potential of the Unidad Popular’s cultural program.
Given similar episodes in Spain, Chile and Uruguay, the documentary also aims to portray different initiatives of cultural intervention and urban-rural outreach which took place in Spain and Latin America, promoted by governments which were subsequently overthrown, thereby consigning to near-oblivion these marvellous experiences in which the people themselves were protagonists.
WHY WE NEED YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS
Your contributions will go to covering the costs of editing and audio post-production of the documentary, which is what is required to complete its production. The filming of the documentary took place in January and July 2014 in Chile as well as in Spain and Argentina. The costs of filming, production and transportation were self-managed thanks to contributions in kind from several of the institutions involved in the project.
Month of launch of campaign: September 2014.
Viewing and editing of the documentary materials: from October 2014 to February 2015.
Postproduction of sound and image: March and April 2015.
Premiere of documentary and delivery of rewards: approximately May 2015.