This Mayan language animated short film is just one of dozens in indigenous Mexican languages

Back in 2013, filmmaker Gabriela Badillo launched a new collaborative project called 68 Voices, 68 Hearts, an "animated series of Mexican indigenous stories narrated in their original language, raised on the premise 'No one can love what they don't know.'" The series has so far produced 36 films in different indigenous tongues, with the ultimately goal of making one for each of Mexico's 68 linguistic groups.

More from their website:

My grandfather, Maya originally from Maxcanú, Yucatán, passed away some years ago and until that moment I became aware of everything that had gone with him. Aside from losing a loved one, I realized that an enormous wisdom had also been lost: a language, stories, traditions and customs, a whole world had dissolved with him.

During my social service in my university years, also in Yucatán, it was very shocking to see how the children's own mothers, out of fear of being discriminated, wouldn't teach their language to their children.

And after discovering one day the poem by Miguel León Portilla, the dots connected.

Like he mentions in his poem, "when a language dies, a way of seeing the world, a window to a universe also dies"


The series seeks to create an inclusive and contemporary project that doesn't fall into the mexican "cliché", but instead represents a search for a reinterpretation of our culture through Mexican illustrators, based on the work of authors like Miguel León Portilla, Andrés Henestrosa, Hermenegildo López, Isaac Esau Carrillo Can, Manuel Espinosa Sainos, as well as traditions and stories of oral tradition, revealing the importance of these pieces.

At present in Mexico, 364 linguistic variants are spoken, classified into 68 groups and 11 linguistic families (INALI, 2008). At least half of these are in a state of "accelerated extinction".

The film above, "La Ultima Danza," is inspired by the work of Isaac Essau Carrillo Can, and is presented in Mayan and Yucatán.

You can check out the other short films, in languages such as Otomi, Tohono O'odham, Huichol, and Nahuatl, at 68 Voices, 68 Hearts.