Chile has had a tumultuous political and economic history. After dictator Augusto Pinochet’s reign ended in 1990, the country adopted a market-based allocation system for water, relinquishing state oversight and allowing corporations to take control. Over the years, thriving industries began to monopolize the resources in the mineral-rich Atacama Desert in order to fuel their economic expansion. In combination with excessive mining activity, this has led to drought and the contamination of watercourses in local communities, including in the Loa province. Just as the nitrate and copper mining towns in the desert were abandoned post-extraction, the oasis town of Quillagua, reliant on the depleted and polluted Loa River, now faces a similar fate...
Loa’s Promise envisions the outcome of this situation, presenting an alternate history and hypothetical future, where the desert’s ghost towns have been retrofitted as data centers and digital mines, which have effaced past memories. By portraying the endangered town of Quillagua as threaded to a network of the region’s abandoned towns, the film aims to raise awareness of the consequences of deregulated resource extraction in free-market economies like Chile -- consequences that could soon affect much of the world.
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