Der weiße Schatz und die Salzarbeiter von Caquena

Der weiße Schatz und die Salzarbeiter von Caquena

Eva Katharina Bühler

»I think that the gringos started back then with the lithium.« Don Rosauro stands in the middle of an endless white expanse. He is a salt worker at Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. In the largest salt desert on earth, descendants of the Aymara Indians are extracting salt here at a height of 3,670 metres. The largest lithium deposits in the world are assumed to be lying beneath the raw white surface of the salt lake, the material required for handys, laptops and for the batteries of the electric cars of the future. How will the microcosm of the salt workers change when they are reached by the globalised world? Der weiße Schatz describes in a close-up portrait the last calm before the storm, an intact world in which the signs of coming changes can no longer be overlooked.

Justification of the jury:
Cars at a trade fair in Geneva shine bright white. The magic word of the new electric car is lithium. The lake in Caquena, Bolivia, also shines bright white. This is where the treasure is buried. For some this is salt, the basis of their lives, for others it is lithium, the basis of our unstoppable progress. Eva Katharina Bühler describes to us in precisely composed images the daily lives of the inhabitants on the shore of the lake and the impending destruction of their existence and traditions. Her gazer is alert, her camera direction patient and decisive. The visual language develops its own dramaturgy and dynamics. At the end, the camera gives up its respectful distance and unleashes itself into a lively dance, a dance that at some point will end for the Indians.

Award for ›Der weiße Schatz‹
Kodak Kamerapreis 2011

Director / Cinematography

Eva Katharina Bühler


Robert Nickolaus


Matthias Scharfi


Johannes Weißgerber


Daniel Lopez Colque, Juan Lopez Gonzales, Rosauro Lopez Huayllani und die Dorfbewohner von Caquena

Production / Contact

Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg

Portrait of Eva Katharina Bühler

Eva Katharina Bühler

Eva Katharina Bühler is born in 1981 in Achern. She discovers painting and photography at an early age and in 2002 wins the German Youth Photo Prize. After studying audiovisual media at the Stuttgart Media University, she gains experience, including at the WDR and with X-Filme. In 2005, she begins a double study in directing and camera at the Film Academy Baden-Wuerttemberg. She concludes this in 2011 with the films Monika and Der weiße Schatz.

Films by Eva Katharina Bühler (Selection)
DoP: Monika 2011 | Beelzebub 2010 | Frei Sein 2008 | Vogel.tot 2008
DoP and Director: Alles in mir 2009 | Alles was bleibt 2007