Environmental and Energy Policy
"In 2005, Bolivia entered a radical new era in its history, by electing Socialist Evo Morales as the new president. An indigenous Aymaran, former coca union leader, and part of the "pink tide" sweeping South America, Evo promised to redistribute land, rewrite the constitution to protect indigenous rights, and to nationalize the oil and gas reserves of the country.
"My major focused on economics, public policy, and energy, and I was keen to see how a state seizure of assets would affect one of the world's poorest countries.
"I arrived in [Bolivia] 6 months post-nationalization, and documented the change occurring via film interviews with top government officials, opposition leaders, gas industry representatives, and people on the street. What I found was that in Bolivia, to understand a single policy - nationalization - is to understand the political, cultural, and economic strife of an entire continent. In addition to this project, I spent time in the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat, and shot a film on eco-tourism and subsistence in one of the world's harshest environments.
"I also traveled to the Xixuau-Xiparina extractive reserve, and observed a new model of conservation in the Brazilian rainforest. In between, I learned about the complex variances of Chilean Spanish; the rhythmic patterns of Andean peña dancing, Peruvian salsa, and Argentine tango; and how to surf in Brazil."