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The man that sought to change the world by changing a village.

High in the Peruvian Andes sits the village of Licapa. The last of the glacier that provided water to the village melted 20 years ago. Without the glacier holding in the winter snow the village is in a constant drought. The black mountains absorb so much heat it has changed the micro climate of the region sending rains further south. The villagers can’t raise llamas and crops to sustain their way of life. Young People move away and many fear Licapa will be abandoned entirely. 

Eduardo Gold, an inventor from Lima, heard about Licapa and had a simple answer: Paint the mountain white. With a team of volunteers he began doing just that and it worked. The area where Eduardo painted had snow cover for the first time in decades. Eventually Eduardo won a grant of $200,000 from the World Bank. It was more than enough money to paint Licapa’s mountain and in turn find a solution to glacial recession. 

What Eduardo didn’t anticipate was with international money comes international strings. Of the $200,000 Eduardo only received $24,000. At the same time the Environmental minister of Peru threatened to “ruin his life” if he didn’t stop. Environmental research is big business in Peru and Eduardo was out of step with a system no one wanted to change. But that didn’t stop him and it seemed nothing would.

His drive and ambition fueled a team of believers that put their life on hold to see this project through. They did this because when Eduardo set his mind to something he would not rest until he was finished.

 

They believed in him so much that when Eduardo had medical issues and emergency surgery most of them thought nothing of it.. After all, Eduardo never let anything slow him down.

Within 2 weeks of surgery Eduardo died from cancer and until his last breath he worked on his plan to save Licapa. His family and friends were devastated but remain steadfast to see Eduardo paint his mountain. 

Mountainfilm is excited to support Jordan’s new film because he is a talented filmmaker who has had work screen at the festival before that resonated with our audiences but even more so, Gold Paints the Mountains is a story we haven’t seen before and that is enormously exciting.
— David Holbrooke, Festival Director - Telluride Mountainfilm
Carlos, Eduardo's partner standing beneath El Sombrero, the mountain they are painting.

Carlos, Eduardo's partner standing beneath El Sombrero, the mountain they are painting.

Why this story

Gold Paints the Mountain tells the story of how Eduardo, A college drop out, captivated his family, friends, Scientists, politicians, and eventually, the World Bank into believing his plan to save the world for a handful of Andean farmers. Part Don Quixote, Part Nicola Tesla, Eduardo Gold felt any problem could be solved from the garden in his back yard. 

Where the story takes place

Licapa, Peru is located west of Ayacucho at an elevation of 13825 feet. It was formed when the families in the region decided to move close in proximity to each other to allow their children to attend school. Today, because of the limited resources and jobs available in Licapa, many of the young people move to more populated areas. 

We will talk with family, friends, government officials, journalists, nay-sayers that thought he was crazy, and villagers that saw what Eduardo was doing as heroic. There isn't a consensus when it comes to the work of Eduardo Gold and we plan on honoring the man and his story by representing all sides of this fascinating man and his work.

 

From Jordan Halland, Director

This is a story that I have not been able to let go of since I first heard about it almost 5 years ago. The more that I learn about Eduardo the more I want to tell his story. He was driven to improve the lives of people he didn’t even know and he didn’t wait for permission to do so. When he was told to stop, he didn’t listen.  There have been plenty of films about what humanity needs to do to combat global warming but seldom do we see stories of individuals trying to impact their small piece of the world.

My hope is that the audience will see the story of one man that committed his life to fighting global warming on a macro level and will be encouraged to explore how they can have an impact in their back yard. 

About Jordan Halland

Jordan Halland is an award winning documentarian and filmmaker from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. He has worked in television, commercial, and feature films over the last 15 years.

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