Presented By:Mike Plunkett
This sumptuous documentary transports viewers to Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. There we meet Moises, a traditional salt gatherer whose generations-deep lifestyle as a salero is on the brink of major change. For most of his life, Moises and his family have lived and worked amidst these shimmering vistas, with visitors, and even passing automobiles, a rarity.
But the discovery of lithium, the precious mineral used in smartphone and laptop batteries, brings international attention and big-money interests to the remote region. Suddenly, construction is everywhere along the salt flats’ once-placid horizon, as corporations put down roots and politicians drop by for photo ops. Roads and an international airport appear, and tourists become commonplace. Former saleros, including Moises’ own brother, leave the profession to sell souvenirs, and other new enterprises aimed at capturing income from visitors pop up seemingly overnight.
Much to its credit, Salero approaches these changes thoughtfully and with a deep humanism. The irreparable disruption to the area’s natural beauty speaks for itself, and viewers are left to reach their own political conclusions about what transpires. As the landscape around him changes, Moises contemplates the difficult fact that his profession will likely have disappeared by the time his young sons reach working age, even as many of his neighbors and relatives welcome the influx of commerce and attention to their village. This mesmerizing viewing experience will leave you with unforgettable images and complex thoughts that linger long after the lights come up. (Eric Allen Hatch)Director Bio
Director and producer Mike Plunkett is a New York-based director, writer, and editor. His short films have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, the Queens Museum, the Director’s Guild of America, and on PBS. Salero is his first documentary feature film and has garnered awards from The MacArthur Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, San Francisco Film Society, and New York State Council for the Arts, among others.