Icarus Films has announced the North American theatrical release of the engrossing feature-length documentary film Gringo Trails (pictured) by anthropologist Pegi Vail and produced by Dominican-American filmmaker Melvin Estrella.
Winner of the Special Jury Award at the Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature Environmental Film Festival, a favorite at the Margaret Mead Film Festival where it played to sold-out crowds, and an official selection at numerous festivals around the world, Vail’s debut feature film opens for its theatrical premiere engagement on Thursday, September 4th at Cinema Village in New York City, and on Friday, September 12th at Facets Cinémathèque in Chicago, followed by other cities across the U.S.
Hailed as “required viewing for all thoughtful travelers” (Condé Nast Traveler), Gringo Trails raises urgent questions about one of the most powerful globalizing forces of our time: tourism. The film follows stories along the well‐-worn western travelers’ route—the ‘gringo trail’—through South America, Africa, and Asia, revealing the complex relationships host countries hungry for financial security and the tourists who provide it in their quest for “authentic” experiences.
Are tourists destroying the planet-or saving it? How do travelers change the remote places they visit, and how are they changed? From the Bolivian jungle to the party beaches of Thailand, and from the deserts of Timbuktu, Mali to the breathtaking beauty of Bhutan, Gringo Trails traces stories over 30 years to show the unanticipated impact of tourism on cultures, economies, and the environment.
Co-producer and director of photography Melvin Estrella has worked in numerous capacities within the independent film arena as well as within commercial, television, and non-profit production. He shot and produced the documentary, The Dodgers Sym-Phony and is the director of photography on the documentary-in-progress Wall Street in the Black. His short film Firebird premiered at Jazz at Lincoln Center during the New York Indian Film Festival. He serves on the curatorial committee for The Moth.