Agave is Life is the story of mankind’s symbiotic alliance with the marvelous agave plant, from which tequila, Mexico’s iconic distilled spirit is derived. Told through the lens of archaeological and historical investigations, this colorful film with both original and traditional folk music relies upon ethnographic materials, archival footage and interviews to explore ten thousand years of the human-agave relationship.

Once a critical resource for hunter-gatherers living in arid regions of the American Southwest and Latin America, and later playing a role in the rise of ancient civilizations, agave,the buffalo of plants, was a source of food, drink, textiles, fuel, and medicines. We learn that this unique desert plant, once embedded in cultural identity, mythology, art, and rituals, faces an uncertain future. Today, ancient folkways, from fiber craftsmanship to traditional pulque and mescal productions, are rapidly disappearing. While entrepreneurs and scientists work to turn the tide, a loss of diversity of both cultivated and wild species may be the ultimate arbitrator.

Meredith Dreiss, David Brown (Co.), Sharon Greenhill (Co.)

David Brown, Meredith Dreiss

Lead Actors: 

Supporting Actors: 

David Brown, Jennifer Lane, Meredith Dreiss, Sharon Greenhill

Layton Blaylock


Voice Over: 
Edward James Olmos

Austin, TX

Screening With: 
Mei Mei and The Strong People

59 min.