MAXIMÓN – Santo o Diablo, A documentary
Ajax Films’ new documentary “MAXIMÓN–Santo o Diablo” will make its world premiere in La Antigua Guatemala at the Cooperacion Española, 6a. av. norte (between 3a y 4a calle) on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. There will be a reception and the filmmakers, Robert Flanagan and Suzan Al-Doghachi, will be present for questions and answers. The documentary is 66 minutes long, in Spanish with English subtitles, filmed and produced entirely in Guatemala.
“MAXIMÓN-Santo o Diablo” explores the controversial Mayan deity who personifies good and evil simultaneously. Maximón, also known as San Simon, or the drinking and smoking saint of Guatemala, is a mixture of ancient Mayan beliefs and Christianity. The movie focuses on the people who surround Maximón with their strong personalities, opinions and faith. Maximón is honored and loved because he performs miracles, but he is also feared and despised because he is used to cast curses that purportedly can result in death. Giving viewers a rare glimpse into the rituals and fiestas honoring Maximón, the documentary leads us on a journey that is both joyous and terrifying. Ultimately Maximón transcends the duality of good and evil, reflecting the Mayan cosmovision in which everything in the universe co-exists.
“MAXIMÓN-Santo o Diablo” was produced over a 10-year period. The filmmakers chose La Antigua Guatemala for the premiere because it is a cultural center in Central America. Maximón is part of the Guatemalan folk tradition and naturally the filmmakers want to share it with the Guatemalan audience first.
“The mystery that surrounds Maximón played a large part in the creation of this film,” explains Flanagan. “Twenty-five years ago I was living in London. For no apparent reason I created a figure out of old clothes and a mask. I gave him a cowboy hat, I gave him sunglasses, I gave him a cigarette and I gave him a beer. At this point I knew nothing about Maximón. It wasn’t until 25 years later on my first trip to Guatemala that I walked into the casa de Maximón in Zunil where I immediately recognized the figure sitting on his throne as the same one I had constructed in London. I really had no choice but to make this film. This began our journey with Maximón.”
About the filmmakers
Robert Flanagan – director, producer
Robert Flanagan is a filmmaker and visual artist. He has been making movies since childhood, starting with claymation in Super-8, continuing with feature films in 16mm and currently making documentaries on video. In 1990 Flanagan founded AJAX FILMS in New York City and has been working in Central America since 2000. All of his films and paintings are guided by his personal vision and his interest in bringing the mystical into the light of day.
In his third feature “Bird in the Sky,” Flanagan explored the relationship between good and evil. He has taken this theme even deeper in his current documentary “MAXIMÓN-Santo o Diablo.” Flanagan’s films have been shown throughout the USA and internationally.
Suzan Al-Doghachi – producer, editor
Suzan Al-Doghachi has lived in New York City, Iraq, Germany and is currently working in Central America. She started her career working as an editor for German public television. In 1993 she moved to New York City, producing, directing and editing feature films, shorts and documentaries. She also has been on the jury for the Chicks with Flicks Film Festival NYC 2002 –2006.
Being very interested in different cultures Al-Doghachi has collaborated with Robert Flanagan on several documentaries in Central America, “THE GARIFUNA–An Enduring Spirit,” “THE MAYA OF TOLEDO–Ancient Culture, Modern Lives,” “SAVING PARADISE, River to Reef” and currently “MAXIMÓN–Santo o Diablo.”
For details about the film including the trailer please visit www.maximonmovie.com