producer and filmmaker

El Lugar de la Memoria

El Lugar de la Memoria  (IN POST PRODUCTION)
USA, Mexico - 85min
Directed by: Juan Pablo González
Produced by: Makena Buchanan, Jamie Gonçalves, Ilana Coleman

As economic and social conditions become dire, a wave of suicides among young people disrupts life in a small Mexican town. Most affected by the tragedy, the Bolaños family and the town residents perform ceremonies and daily rituals to recapture the past. El Lugar de la Memoria presents a reflection on the reconfiguration of rural life in México.



Nando Bolaños died in Milpillas, México in 2010. His parents, José and Isabel, found him outside their home, sitting in a chair, with a chain tied around his neck--he had taken his own life. The documentary follows the Bolaños family through their mourning process, constructing a deep reflection on memory and grief. Over the course of the next few weeks we follow José at work, where his son’s absence is felt during his daily routines. Every morning, he contemplates in silence, the bucolic landscapes he now passes through alone. The horses he used to ride with Nando await him.

Conversations among the Bolaños family and town residents tell the story of an unprecedented wave of suicides afflicting the town, while simultaneously illuminating pressures the community faces. Jose serves as the entry point as it's his strong personal connection to the centuries-old agricultural tradition in the village that is essential towards understanding today’s generational, economic, and societal shifts affecting the region.

In 2015, memories of Nando are re-awakened by the sudden suicide of a niece. This is the 2nd suicide in the Bolaños family and 6th in the village, causing worry amongst the entire community. The family hopes this doesn’t reinvigorate those feelings in their youngest daughter as she’s made several attempts. They now face the challenge of keeping their youngest daughter alive. As they anxiously await her wedding, the family hopes this celebration will mark a new beginning.


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