Yochi

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SYNOPSIS

Yochi, an 8 year-old selectively mute Mayan boy, guards a nest of yellow-headed parrot chicks on sacred land entrusted to him by his grandfather. When Yochi discovers his beloved older brother Itza is poaching in order to pay his debts, Yochi's loyalties are put to the test. When Itza realizes he has poached Yochi's nest, he is faced with a dangerous sacrifice.


DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

At the heart of Yochi's story, there is silence. Yochi is selectively mute: he stopped talking when his beloved grandfather suddenly died, and his older brother Itza left for the city. The film enters into Yochi's silence, to see what he sees: the wondrous beauty of the land he roams. Broad leaf forests, rivers, pine savannahs of Belize. Land that resonates with the echo of his grandfather's voice. The film reveals Yochi's secret: the nest of Yellow-Headed Parrots he loyally guards. He identifies with their vulnerability. Only to them he speaks.

Yochi is a film about healing wounds. Protecting what is sacred. Taking flight. When Itza returns from the city, intent on poaching parrots' nests to make fast money, the brothers are set on a collision course. The events of the film ultimately allow Yochi to recover his voice, and Itza to return to the world he willfully cast himself out of. The brother's conflict is reflective of larger conflicts at play in Belize -- between tradition and modernity, conservation and economic survival. But at the heart of this story is the healing power of two brothers' love.

-Ilana Lapid, Writer & Director

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