I’m very pleased to announce that we have started yet another project. I am in the beginning stages of shooting a short documentary called El Último Hielero, or The Last Ice Merchant.
To explore the rapid generational changes within indigenous communities, I’m following a man named Baltazar, who is known here as the last ice merchant. Twice a week for the last 55 years he has trekked over 10 km to the fossilized glaciers on Chimborazo—to an altitude of about 16,000 feet—with his donkeys. There he hacks away at ice, breaks it into blocks, wraps it in hay and brings it back down to store in a hole in the ground so that he can sell it at the Saturday market for $2.50 a piece.
I followed Baltazar for two days last week to shoot preliminary footage and am coordinating time to head over for an extended period. Following is a promo video to show what exactly he does as a hielero.