On Thursday night, Peter Greenberg will host a Q&A after a screening of Gringo Trails in New York. The documentary was written and directed by Pegi Vail, who is the Associate Director of the Center for Media, Culture, and History at New York University and a Fulbright Scholar.
Gringo Trails follows stories along the trail many Western travelers follow, which is also known as the “gringo trail”—through South America, Africa, and Asia. While traveling through these parts of the world, many often face similar questions and issues about responsible travel, and about their own impact.
As dramatically as travelers are altered by new landscapes, values and belief systems, they also alter the people and places they visit. The original inhabitant of an island on the Salt Flats of Bolivia faces the dilemma of trying to preserve its ecosystem while still allowing outsiders to experience its unique magic. A traveler’s search for an “unspoiled” island paradise in Thailand has unintended but devastating consequences and poses ethical quandaries for locals in a position to profit from tourism. Locals worldwide express the desire for visitors to better understand how to respectfully walk on their sacred lands, including an indigenous community that has become a model for sustainable tourism in South America.
After the film’s screening on Thursday, Peter will be moderating a discussion and panelists include Vail and Costas Christ, editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveler.
Gringo Trails is showing at Cinema Village from September 4 to 11 (22 East 12th Street).
By Peter Greenberg for PeterGreenberg.com