TRAILER: Watch Yaqui Indians Fight the Mexican Government for Water Rights In this Documentary

Drainage pipes frothing with yellowish foam as they spill forth gallons upon gallons of toxic waste; a river of green sludge oozing along its path at the languid pace of molasses; a churning cauldron of oily, brown chunks swirling feverishly around a rusted metal tube. These are some of the shocking, provocative images found in the trailer for the upcoming documentary, Mover un Río, from the UNAM’s Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos (CUEC).

The doc was shot in the heat of an epic David-versus-Goliath struggle in the northern Mexican state of Sonora that pitted local Yaqui Indians against a large-scale aqueduct project that would divert what was left of their sacred Yaqui river into the state capital of Hermosillo. Several years in the making, the conflict was seemingly resolved in early 2013 when the Mexican Supreme Court stipulated that the aqueduct’s construction respect the Yaqui People’s rights, but tensions once again came to a head late last year when one of the tribe’s leaders was arrested. Following an October 11 march that captured national attention, it seemed that the issues was ready to boil over, only to be rapidly eclipsed by the disappearance of the 43 normalista students in the southern state of Guerrero.

Directed by Alba Herrera Rivas, Mover un Río follows four members of the Yoeme tribe (how they refer to themselves) as they cross their ancestral lands exploring the plight of their people in the midst of an escalating struggle for their rights. Visually stunning landscapes contrast with images of barren fields and polluted rivers as Olga, Librado, Fernando, and Mario reflect on the importance of the river for the survival of their people. Concluding with images of an extended roadblock held by members of the tribe, it’s clear that the struggle will continue.

While the urgency of Mover un Río’s message is evident throughout, more importantly it gives a voice to a people desperate to hold on to their community and traditions, threatened at every turn by the inexorable march of Mexican modernity.