Sanctuary of Butterflies

A Musical Documentary

English | Español
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Experience a film seeded thousands of years in Mexico's musical past, as the father of Etnorock, Luis Perez Ixoneztli, guides us on an otherworldly journey to preserve the remnants of a forgotten culture.

The Film

Sanctuary of Butterflies follows pioneering composer Luis Perez-Ixoneztli on an eye-opening journey across Mexico to explore ancient musical traditions. Along the way, he helps shine a light on ancestral rituals, festivities and ceremonies—and comes face to face with the people who strive to keep them alive. Weaving together interviews, musical performances and rare natural footage, the film showcases cultural practices whose survival is threatened by an increasingly globalized world. Throughout this adventure, Luis' own amazing life story and his original music—composed primarily with Pre-Colombian instruments—work as the compass and beating heart of this musical documentary.

The Music

As a young musician in the 1970s, Luis left the Mexico City rock 'n' roll scene to travel across his native country in order to better understand his ancestral past. It was on these journeys that he discovered a vast wealth of native Mexican instruments and songs that forever changed his musical voice and his life. Following the 1981 release of Luis' debut album, En el Ombligo de la Luna, the first of its kind to blend Pre-Columbian musical elements with modern music, the genre of Etnorock was born.


Glaciers (exclusive premiere)

Distant Voices (from Tales of Astral Travelers)

Sabina (unreleased recording featuring chants from legendary medicine woman, Maria Sabina)

Cast & Crew

Luis Pérez Ixoneztli has contributed to the world of Mexican music by incorporating native musical instruments into a contemporary musical language, while paving a unique path for new generations of musicians. His first work, En el Ombligo de la Luna, perhaps the ultimate fusion involving Pre-Columbian instruments and electronics, has recently been inducted into the National Archives of Mexican Music. In addition, the National Institute of Anthropology and History will be publishing his book on the methods involved in constructing instruments native to Mexico.
Cole Smothers is a New York City based director/cinematographer for Gravity Free Productions, a film production company that produces documentaries, music videos, and short narrative films. He has captured stories that range from overfishing issues in little-known Mexican villages to pollution disasters in Salt Lake City to rebuilding life in post-earthquake Haiti. His innate need to explore and share the uncommon or overlooked aspects of humanity drives the majority of Cole's work.
Daniel Sznajderman A native of Caracas, Venezuela and now based in New York, he has built a versatile career in Film and Television, with a special focus and passion for documentaries. After working in the development and production of programs that aired on CNN and PBS, among others, he founded Caminante Films with the intention of producing original, quality content from around the world. The production company has already made partners and inroads in the world of Mexican cinema, and is also proud to present Sanctuary of Butterflies as its first feature-length documentary production.
Patricia Ordaz Guzmán As associate producer, Patricia plays an important role in the production this film. She is also a singer, actress, teacher and lawyer; her curriculum includes a Master's Degree in Advanced Theater Studies and Scene Direction at the Universidad de la Rioja, as well as in Performing Arts at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro. She is driven by a desire to promote culture through artistic projects that strengthen the arts in Mexico, divulging and fomenting her work through the theater, music and other artistic means. She is a singing and spoken word specialist, working in different genres and musical groups as well as being a vocal instructor for 9 years.


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