cover art for IDFA 2023 -  Ozogoche

Delightful Docs

IDFA 2023 - Ozogoche


Cuviví is the Ecuadorean indigenous name for the upland sandpiper, a wading bird that has special significance for the communities living around the Ozogoche lakes in the middle of the Andes. Each year, these birds migrate south from North America. Around September they pass the Ozogoche lakes, where large numbers then “commit suicide,” plunging from great heights into the ice-cold water. The dead birds wash up on the banks, where they are gathered and used to prepare a feast, accompanied by rituals.

If the cuviví makes a sacrifice by migrating, the same can be said of the many indigenous inhabitants of the páramo who follow the route in the opposite direction. Work is scarce and there is less food due to climate change. Many young people therefore migrate to the United States, despite the dangers of the journey. With stunning photography, Ozogoche shows the everyday life of a girl who lives near the lake. Her uncle lives in the US, and she might be heading there herself. In the meantime, she awaits the arrival of the cuvivís, few of which have appeared in recent years. The lakes are drying up.


Joe Houlberg Silva studied Film and Philosophy at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago SAIC. His professional experience includes directing, assistant directing, and producing film projects. He has produced and/or

assisted films of three renowned Ecuadorian directors: "Tinta Sangre" (2012) directed by Mateo Herrera, "El Telón" (2013) directed by Victor Arreguí, and Ana Cristina Barragán ́s first films: "Alba" (2016) and “La Piel Pulpo” (2022), which premiered at Rotterdam and San Sebastian


In 2019, he founded the production company Botón Films, dedicated to producing independent Ecuadorian films that challenge the audiovisual language from an authentic and intimate perspective.

Currently, Joe is involved in the development and production of several projects, including: "Ozogoche" (2023) his debut documentary, as director and producer, which will premiere at IDFA and received support from various organizations such as Buenos Aires LAB (BAL) at BAFICI, IFCI national fund for documentary production, Co-Production Meeting of the Guadalajara Film Festival (FICG), SANFIC industry in Chile, Nuevas Miradas of EICTV in Cuba, IDFA Bertha Fund Classic, IDFA Bertha Fund Europe Copro, IDFA Project Space, IDFA Forum Rough Cut and the Doha Film Institute fund for post production; "La Hiedra" (2024), as producer and directed by Ana Cristina Barragán, supported by the IFCI national fund for production, CNC Aide aux cinémas du monde, Ibermedia Production fund, Cinemart IFFR, Brlab in Brazil, Ikusmira Berriak residency from San Sebastian Film Festival, among others; “Amapola” (2025), also as producer and directed by Ana Cristina Barragán, selected to participate at the Locarno Open Doors HUB;

the short film “Ave” (2023), that recently had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival TIFF.

In addition to his filmmaking endeavors, Joe teaches film at USFQ and is an active member of the Association of Independent Directors and Screenwriters of Ecuador and the Academy of Audiovisual and Cinematographic Arts of Ecuador.

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