DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Designed to draw children into paganism, the animated film Pachamama was released in France on Our Lady of Guadalupe's feast day on Dec. 12, 2018 and picked up by Netflix this year.
"When a sacred statue is taken from his Andean village, a spirited boy who dreams of becoming a shaman goes on a brave mission to get it back," reads the description for the film.
Many Catholics were scandalized when Pachamama idols were worshipped in the Vatican Gardens on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi in October, while Pope Francis and high-ranking prelates watched.
A petition titled "Protest against Pope Francis's sacrilegious acts" details the presence of Pachamama in the Vatican Gardens and other places, such as in front of the altar in St. Peter's Basilica.
Though Pachamama's Vatican debut occurred in October 2019, the Mother Earth cult has been pushed, especially on children, for almost 20 years.
The United Nations introduced the indigenous idol to children in a textbook titled Pachamama: Our Earth ― Our Future in 2002, and Juan Antin, writer and director of the Pachamama movie, conceived the idea for the film in 2004, though financial constraints prevented it from being produced and released until 2018.
Antin was impressed by Pachamama and how some indigenous cultures see everything as part of the earth.
"In Quechua, the language of the Incas, 'Pachamama' means Mother Earth. More than that, the indigenous cultures consider human beings, along with all animals and plants, to be part of the earth itself, all together like a huge living organism," he said.
"I think that this is a beautiful way to see nature, so the whole concept of the film — not just narrative, but also graphical — is based on that idea," Antin added.
Antin sought to communicate that idea to children in a simplistic way, appealing to their emotions.
"But with this ecological theme, I didn't want to make it very conceptual, explaining too much, being too didactic. That would have been boring and ultimately I think that those ideas and concepts don't get to small children," he said.
"I wanted the film to be more like a feeling, working on the emotional level more than on the intellectual," Antin continued.
"The story is very simple and that gives the opportunity to let go and get in a contemplative state, where rhythm, colors and music help to bring out positive feelings and emotions," he said.
Antin said the idea for the film came to him "in the form of a vision" when sitting on a beach in La Havana, Cuba:
I imagined how, on the very same beaches but more than 500 years before, the natives were watching the first European conquistadors arrive. ... [H]ow disappointed they must have been when they realized that those strange creatures, looking like gods in their shining armor, were only bringing along the most savage part of their humanity.
Antin is brainstorming another animated feature along similar lines.
"It's still too early to give details, but I can tell you that it's in the line of Pachamama but happening on the Amazonas," he said in June.