A 16mm feature-length documentary film about
the legendary people
of Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mexico.

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Author Elena Poniatowska described the legendary women of Juchitán, a city in Oaxaca, Mexico, as “guardians of men, distributors of food.” Artists like Miguel Covarrubias and Frida Kahlo celebrated their beauty and intelligence. Blossoms of Fire shows them in all their brightly colored, opinionated glory as they run their own businesses, embroider their signature fiery blossoms on clothing and comment with angry humor on articles in the foreign press that flippantly and inaccurately depict them as a promiscuous matriarchy.

The people interviewed in this film share a strong work ethic and fierce independent streak rooted in Zapotec culture. These qualities have resulted not only in powerful women but also in the region’s progressive politics, manifested in their unusual tolerance of homosexuality. Veteran film editor and former Les Blank collaborator Maureen Gosling and codirector Ellen Osborne illuminate the infectious self-confidence of the Juchitecan people.

A midwife laughs over a young husband’s behavior during birth, a gay man cheerfully asserts that “the mom’s in charge” in Juchitecan society and many proudly describe the challenges they face in their work and their families. Their lives may be hard, and maintaining Zapotec culture and language may be an ongoing battle, but it’s plain that not one of these individuals – man, woman, young, old, gay or straight – would willingly change places with anyone in the first world. —Pam Troy, San Francisco International Film Festival

Producer, Director, Editor - Maureen Gosling
Co-Director, Co-Producer - Ellen Osborne
Co-Producers - Toni Hanna, Maria Teresa García de la Noceda
Cinematographer - Xavier Pérez Grobet
Sound Recordist - Gabriela Espinoza
Field Producer - Susana Vásquez Sánchez
Associate Producer - Kelly Clement
Fiscal Sponsor - Film Arts Foundation, San Francisco
Featuring - the People of Juchitán and San Blas Atempa, Oaxaca

Major Funding - Fideicomiso para la Cultura (Bancomer, Rockefeller Foundation, Mexican Fund for Culture), Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía - IMCINE, American Film Institute, Fundación Cultural Rodolfo Morales, Leovigildo Martínez Torres, Robert J. Gosling, MD, John Sayles, Tom Worrell, National Endowment for the Arts, Film Arts Foundation, Rex Foundation, Swedish Television, Arhoolie Records, James Dougherty Foundation, Solidago Foundation

Honors and Special Screenings:

World Premiere - San Francisco International Film Festival, Castro Theater, SF and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley

Coral Prize for Best Foreign Documentary About Latin America: Havana International Film Festival, Havana, Cuba.
“Best Of” Sunnyside of the Doc Film Market, Marseille, France
Award for Excellence - Society for Visual Anthropology, American Anthropological Association
Best Documentary - Film Fest New Haven, Conn.
Terres en Vues First People's Festival, Second Prize, Community Category, Montréal, Québec
Prix Union Latine, Competition - La Cita Festival de Biarritz, Biarritz, France

El Foro de la Cineteca Nacional, Mexico City, Mexico (One of 12 international films chosen to screen at this prestigious Forum.) The film toured Mexico with the other films for three months following.
HBO Frame by Frame Series, The Screening Room, Manhattan
Tour of the Mexican Republic, including Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mexico City, and dozens of venues in the southern Mexican states. Sponsored by the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE). May-June 2001.
Documentary Film Studio, Hanoi, Vietnam (with Vietnamese translation)
Viet Nam University of Film and Television, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
HDerHumALC (Human Rights) Film Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Toured with festival films to Lima, Peru (Dec. 2002); World Social Justice Forum in Porto Alegre and Belem, Brazil (Jan. 2003).


HBO Latino, U.S.; TVE, Spain; Swedish Television; Maori Television, New Zealand; Chinese Television


Auckland and Wellington Film Festivals, New Zealand; Biarritz Latino Film Festival, France; Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Paris, France; Chicago Latino Film Festival; Cinefestival, San Antonio, Texas; ¡Cine Latino! San Francisco; CineSol Latino Film Festival - South Padre Island, Texas; Cine Vegas, Las Vegas; Docupolis Film Festival, Barcelona, Spain; Environmental Film Festival, Washington, DC; EthnoFilmFest Berlin, Germany; Film Fra Sor (Films from the South), Oslo, Norway; Film Fest New Haven, Conn; Freiberger Film Festival, Germany; Great Plains Film Festival, Lincoln, Nebraska; Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China; Inside Out Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival, Toronto; International Lesbian Film Festival (Immaginaria), Bologna, Italy; Kalamata Documentary Film Festival, Greece; Los Angeles Latino Film Festival; Nashville International Film Festival, Tennessee; National Museum of the American Indian Film Festival, New York; Ozark Foothills Film Festival, Arkansas; Parnü Anthropological Film Festival, Estonia; San Diego Latino Film Festival, San Diego, California; Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Greece; United Nations Population Fund Film Festival, Hanoi, Vietnam; Women in the Director's Chair, Chicago, Illinois.