Captivating New Short Documentary Exposes Hardships Faced by Ecuadorian Guitar Makers

Captivating New Short Documentary Exposes Hardships Faced by Ecuadorian Guitar Makers

Sam Watkins, the UK-born filmmaker behind ‘The Vanishing Strings of the Andes’, shown here in a behind-the-scenes still from the short documentary’s shoot in Ecuador.

UK Filmmaker Sam Watkins’ Stunning Debut Short Doc ‘The Vanishing Strings of the Andes’ Focuses on the South American Guitar Luthiers Fighting Globalization.

I was profoundly moved by the beauty and tragedy I encountered… These guitar makers are the embodiment of dedication and integrity, and it is crucial that we protect their invaluable heritage.”

— Sam Watkins, Filmmaker

MALAGA, SPAIN, July 19, 2023/ — UK-born filmmaker Sam Watkins announces the release of his debut short documentary, ‘The Vanishing Strings of the Andes’ – a visually stunning exploration of the challenges faced by guitar makers on The Route of the Guitars in San Bartolomé, Ecuador. The documentary, beautifully shot and now available on streaming platforms worldwide, brings attention to the endangered craft and traditional way of life of these artisans, while offering a profound glimpse into their world.

This documentary introduces viewers to the rich tapestry of guitar-making in San Bartolomé, where Watkins embarked on a self-funded journey to uncover the origins and unique qualities of these remarkable instruments. With the assistance of a local cinematographer, camera assistant, and sound recordist, Watkins captures the essence of the guitar makers’ workshops and dives deep into the challenges that threaten their craft’s survival.

The documentary features interviews with three esteemed guitar luthiers, including a father and son duo, highlighting their unwavering dedication to quality and tradition. Through their narratives, Watkins exposes the insurmountable competition posed by China, which the guitar luthiers say floods the market with cheap, low-quality guitars at an alarming rate.

Clocking in at just under 13 minutes, ‘The Vanishing Strings of the Andes’ immerses viewers in the beauty of the craft and the devotion of these artisans. Watkins eloquently portrays the artisans’ resilience and their determination to preserve their craft, despite the uncertain future it faces.

Watkins, both director and producer of the documentary, shares his passion for the project: “I was drawn to the project as I had heard a story about a lost ‘guitar road’ in the mountains of Ecuador and I was fascinated by it. But I couldn’t find much information about it online. As a filmmaker, this prompted me to go there in person not only to learn more about the intricate craft of guitar making in Ecuador, but also about the incredible, resilient, and incredibly skilled artisans behind it. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has made a film about this tragic story – until now.

“I was profoundly moved by the beauty and tragedy I encountered while making this short documentary. These guitar makers are the embodiment of dedication and integrity, and it is crucial that we protect their invaluable heritage.”

This documentary showcases Watkins’ talent for his ability to weave a compelling narrative. The documentary, which has already hit streaming platforms worldwide, is garnering attention for its compelling storytelling and captivating visuals, making it a strong contender for film festival success.

Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith, CEO & Founder The Film Festival Doctor, describes the piece as “captivating and poignant”.

“Watkins’s natural filmmaking ability shines through by casting a spotlight on this dwindling craft’s legacy. Capturing [the guitar makers’] struggle for survival and determination to preserve their natural heritage before it fades into obscurity. A must-watch for those fascinated by the resilience of culture and the timeless melodies of a disappearing art.”

Watch it for free, right now, on and other top streaming platforms.

If you like the short, consider leaving a review on IMDb.

About Sam Watkins:

A talented UK-born filmmaker, Watkins’ passion for storytelling began while studying at The University of Dundee. Going on to work for BBC Scotland, followed by various high-profile, London-based video production agencies, he later went on to create social media spots for major studios such as Paramount, Warner Brothers, Universal, and Sony Pictures.

His natural understanding of audience appeal was exemplified in his involvement with popular releases like Bloodshot (2020) and The Invisible Man (2020).

In addition to his talents in filmmaking, Sam also exhibits a natural flair for producing diverse content including music videos, commercials, and documentaries. Capitalising on this, he launched Watkins Films Ltd in 2020, working with corporate clients such as The Economist, GSK, and Guinness, while also taking his skills forward into independent production focusing on uncovering hidden or underserved stories with the potential for global reach.

Currently residing in Málaga, Spain, Watkins is a filmmaker to watch, consistently delivering captivating narratives that leave a lasting impression. His debut short documentary, ‘The Vanishing Strings of the Andes’, is out now.

Kelly O’Brien
Kelly Mary Media OU
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The Vanishing Strings of the Andes – Trailer

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