The gods gave Manuel Jiménez a gift for words, which helped him become a Bankilal, that is, an “elder brother” of his community. His communal service consists in intervening, on behalf of his people, with the spirits and the forces that protect the universe, but also in ensuring that the inherited customs and practices of the original Tsotsil forefathers and foremothers may endure.

  • Original Title: Bankilal (El hermano mayor), 2014
  • Director: María Sojob
  • Camera DOP: Rafael Albarrán Martínez
  • Sound: Marcos Salazar Suazo
  • Sound Design: Sonido urbano estudio
  • Country: Chiapas, México
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Running time: 53′

María Sojob was born on November 18, 1983 in the Tsotsil Mayan territory of Ch’enalvo Chiapas. She studied Communication Sciences and a master’s degree in Documentary Film at the University of Chile. She is the mother of two girls and a coffee farmer. Among her documentary projects are Voces de hoy that portrays the musical movement of young Tsotsiles in rock. In 2015 she directed Bankilal / The Big Brother, a documentary selected and screened at different festivals and film shows at the national and international level. In 2019 she premiered Tote_Abuelo at the 17th Morelia International Film Festival, where she won the La Musa award for best documentary made by a woman and the Ambulante award, for the 2020 documentary tour; as well as the selection in competition in different festivals inside and outside of Mexico. She has given film workshops in different collective spaces. She developed the video letter project with Tsotsil girls and boys. She is currently in the making of the documentary Por la vida, which portrays the struggle and resistance of Lenca women against extractivist projects in Honduras. She is a programmer and Co-founder of Cine Bolomchon, a community collective that seeks to generate spaces for artistic interaction through training, exhibition and filmmaking. Among her interests is the exploration of audiovisual narratives that approach Tsotsil sentipensares.