The Territory of Puloui



How do the indigenous Wayuu people in the desert of La Guajira, Colombia, get water? How do coal mines and climate change affect their everyday lives and culture? A journey into the resistance of a people who fight for life with the power of their beliefs

Length: 85 min | Location: La Guajira Colombia

Theme: Sociology | Culture | Human Rights | Environment

Production status: Final cut | Expected release: QII 2024

Production company: b2medien film production | Schwerin | Germany


„Territorio Puloui“ is a documentary that explores the deep and complex relationship of the Wayuu indigenous community with water. Narrated through the journey of Carmela, who visits for the first time the peninsula of La Guajira, her father’s homeland and ancestral territory of the Wayuu people. During her trip, Carmela talks with community leaders and evidences the impacts of open-pit coal mining and climate change in the area. The community’s survival strategies, shaped by their beliefs, reveal the importance of including the indigenous perspective in the current environmental debate.


Carmela begins her journey on the Caribbean coast where Wayuu fisherman Rogelio highlights the influence of the goddess Puloui on the community’s fishing. Puloui is a central figure in Wayuu mythology and a symbol of the protection of nature. On a journey along the Rancheria River from its mouth, Carmela goes deep into the interior of the peninsula. The Wayuu fisherman, Rufino, shows her the devastating effects of rampant mining and the increasing lack of rainfall in the region.


The first encounter with the Wayuu women comes with Susana. The centenarian grandmother and traditional medicine woman questions the unfulfilled promises of progress made by the coal mine operators and worries about the future of the Iparu ranchería. Her daughter Dejaneth seeks support for the construction of a deep well in the community. The help of a hydrogeological engineer is her hope, but there are also other challenges: the community’s decisions about territory and resources for construction.


The journey takes Carmela through the stories of resilient Wayuu leaders such as Adelaida, Yorlei and Marta, who tell of their efforts to implement alternative water harvesting systems and also note their relationship with the goddess Puloui. Respecting their spaces maintains the balance between humans and nature. Their reflections highlight the importance of education and technology on the way to a better future for the next Wayuu generations, and their struggle to preserve their culture and way of life.


The film combines vivid testimonies about the current situation with the ancestral Wayuu cosmovision. Inspired by Wayuu art, the documentary includes animated parts of the legends and stories that speak of the community’s relationship with nature, water and culture. Carmela guides us through the socio-economic contexts she discovers on her journey and conveys a better understanding of the territory of the goddess Puloui.

Main Protagonists

Territorio Puloui“ was born out of the urgent need to make the voices of the indigenous Wayuu heard. Due to the closure of their own coal mines, exacerbated by Russia‘s attack on Ukraine and the associated sanctions, the global North‘s demand for coal from alternative mining regions is increasing. The gigantic open-cast coal mine in La Guajira is therefore set to be expanded in the coming years with no regard for nature or the culture of the indigenous people living there.

The fisherman Rufino Wouliyuu talks about the sacred river of the Wayuu the Río Ranchería. Until a few years ago, it still flowed into the Caribbean Sea in a branched delta. Today, only reaches the sea, where hardly any animals still live. Rufino fears that future generations will soon only be able to see the river’s only be able to see them in books.

At 105 years old, Doña Susanna Epiayu is the eldest member of the family and the last healer of her rancheria. Despite her advanced age, she is an active craftswoman. She still remembers better times with lots of animals, fruit and vegetables. A time when her family family could still provide for themselves without any problems. To regain this independence independence again, she would like to have her own well in her village.

The Wayuu leader Adelaida Vangriet talks about her fight for the rights and culture of the Wayuu, especially against the monster El Cerrejon. Anyone who raises their voice against exploitation and destruction lives dangerously. Almost nowhere else in the world are there as many murders of environmentalists and campaigners for indigenous rights as in Colombia. But Adeleida is not intimidated by the daily threat and continues to fight for the Wayuu’s survival.

Teacher Marta Marquez knows that education is the key to a better future. With friendly persistence, she has managed to build a school for up to 300 Wayuu children in the middle of the desert. Her latest achievement is a photovoltaic-powered desalination plant that turns brackish well water into up to 2,000 litres of clean drinking water every day. Not only the schoolchildren, but also the neighbouring rancherias have access to cheap drinking water.



Directors & Team

Producers & Directors

Carmela Daza, born in 1980 in Bogotá, Colombia, is a professional in cultural studies and management, trained at the EAN University in Bogotá. She is also a technician in audiovisual production at the Lumière Foundation. Since her arrival in Germany 2019, she has worked as an audiovisual producer at b2medien, where she has contributed her vision and talent to mini-documentary projects.

Maik Gleitsmann-Frohriep, born in 1974 in Schwerin, Germany, studied communication design. Through his company b2medien, he has been involved in the creation of advertising campaigns. In recent years, he has expanded his activities to the production and direction of miniseries and feature documentaries, with the support of AG DOK and Film Commission MV.

Colombian Team

For the documentary film, the participation of the Wayuu was of fundamental importance from the very beginning, not only as protagonists and those affected. An important source for our research was the Wayuu anthropologist and politician Professor Weilder Guerra. In preparation and production, we worked with Leiqui Uriana, a Wayuu filmmaker and EICTV graduate. Leiqui brought two graduates from the Escuela de Comunicaciones Wayuu Jayariyu Farias Montiel  into the production team: Lismari Machado as camera assistant and Yelver Flores as production assistant. The production team was completed by the two Colombians Rafa Gonzales (DOP) and Nelson Roberto (B-Cam Operator). The experience of working with filmmakers from the Wayuu community gave the project greater meaning for us. They accompanied us on every visit to the communities and together we created open spaces for dialogue before filming. The film captures the Wayuu perspective and conveys it authentically to the audience. The interviews and accounts are designed to give the protagonists the space and time they need to convey their thoughts and perspectives. Some long shots allow the viewer to immerse themselves in the environment and offer them the opportunity to listen and observe the surroundings closely.

 An essential part of the creative concept is the use of animation to tell some of the legends of the Wayuu culture. This device allows viewers to immerse themselves in the rich Wayuu cosmology full of poetry and symbolism. These were based on oral narratives and were transcribed and partially reformulated in Wayuunaiki by Professor Luis Beltran, a Wayuu educator and linguist and Luis Fuenmayor, interpreter and speaker of the Epieyuu clan. The animations were created by the Colombian artist and illustrator Betty Santamaria, who has worked intensively with the symbols and drawings of the Wayuu.

 The sounds captured on location, such as the rustling of the ever-present wind in the dry leaves and the never-silent bleating of the herds of goats, take the audience on a sensory journey through the life and culture of the Wayuu. The soundtrack was created by Colombian music Professor Adolfo Hernandez. He has been studying the musical treasures of indigenous communities in his homeland for many years. The music composed for the film is based on the traditional sounds of the Wayuu and was recorded using the typical instruments of the region.

In order of appearance

Rogelio Barliza Fisherman Cabo de la Vela
Yeiner Barliza Son of the fisherman
Rogelito Barliza Son of the fisherman
Maximo Uriana Leader salt worker
Rufino Wouliyuu Fisherman Rancheria River
Nelson Wouliyuu Fisherman Rancheria River
Odelis Ospino Iparu community leader
Susana Epiayu Ouutsü – Traditional doctor Iparu community QRDP
Deyaneth Ipuana Epiayu clan leader Iparu community
Vicente Ipuana Ipuana clan authority Ipuana community Iparu
Adelaida Vangriet Traditional authority Patsuarali community
Maria Antonia Epieyuu Traditional leader Patsuarali community
Rene Miranda Riohacha tank truck driver
Carlos Miguel Acuña Hydrogeological engineer HGM constructores
Yadira Gonzalez La Pista Camp leader
Rafael Gonzalez Burrotanquito Worker
Jose Gregorio Munelo Worker Burrotanquito
Marta Marquez Director Institución etnoeducativa rural Laachon Mayapo
Meliza Jayariyu Teacher Institución etnoeducativa rural Laachon Mayapo


The research and pre-production phase lasted from May 2021 to June 2022, followed by a two month production stay in La Guajira. Post-production will be completed in spring 2024.

Kolumbien – La Guajira | 2:30 min | Spanish – untertitel English

Territory of Puloui

How do the indigenous Wayuu people in the desert of La Guajira, Colombia, get water? How do coal mines and climate change affect their everyday lives and culture? A journey into the resistance of a people who fight for life with the power of their beliefs

Folgt uns auf:

b2medien | Maik Gleitsmann-Frohriep
Bornhövedstraße 71 | D-19055 Schwerin | Germany