• The Bridge Master's Daughter
    Elisa Stone Leahy & Matthew Leahy
    Elisa Stone Leahy & Matthew Leahy

Elisa Stone Leahy, Bridge Master; Victoriano, the bridge master; 2012, Huinchiri, Peru.

High in the Peruvian Andes, a father and master of a 300-year-old bridge weaving tradition struggles to maintain his culture as his daughter tries to escape it. Two weeks before the start of 9th grade, Victoriano's daughter disappears. His emotional search for her, from the sweeping landscape of the Andean highlands to the noisy traffic of the city is interwoven with the reality of the family's legacy. After generations of Arisapana men weaving the only remaining Incan footbridge, Victoriano's sons have followed the call of the city and left the farm life behind. Now his only daughter, prohibited from the male-only weaving process, has left him as well. The search for Ruth Larita covers remote village roads, steep mountain ridges and taxi rides through busy city streets. Slowly, the clues reveal that she has run away with her boyfriend. Yet her journey towards self-empowerment becomes mired in the cycle of a patriarchal oppression. Meanwhile, Victoriano's own quest to safeguard the ancient tradition of his people against the threats of globalization gains worldwide attention, but as his daughter's story slowly reveals itself, a darker societal pattern comes to light. Cultural preservation and women's rights merge in a complex examination of a culture that is both threatened by change and eager for it.

Elisa Stone Leahy is a Peruvian-American cinematographer who was raised in Peru. Along with her husband Matthew Leahy, she studied at the International Filmmakers Institute in Vancouver, BC, and is currently based in Columbus, OH. The Leahys’ company Noonday Films has been filming and producing documentaries and commercial video for seven years. Their documentary Montaña de Luz (a film about a home in Honduras for children with HIV/AIDS) won the Crystal Heart Award at the Heartland Film Festival and is currently being distributed by Icarus Films. Their short documentary Old Radicals premiered at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto and won the DER Award in the International Documentary Challenge.