In 1984, the Swedish mining company Boliden had toxic waste shipped to Chile, where it was supposed to be properly processed. In reality, some of the waste was dumped on the outskirts of the desert town of Arica. The consequences were severe: in the years that followed, residents developed cancer and many babies were born with birth defects.
Lars Edman was born in Chile and grew up in the Swedish village of Boliden, where the mining company had originally been established. The 2009 film Toxic Playground, in which he and co-director William Johansson Kalén first drew attention to the disaster, prompted a lawsuit against Boliden. This case is central to Arica, which also features some familiar figures from the previous film.
Yoselyn, then a young girl, has since named her first child after the filmmakers. Rolf Svedberg, who as Boliden’s former head of environmental issues was partly responsible for shipping the toxic waste, and who previously traveled with the filmmakers to Arica to face the consequences of that decision, is in a predicament. Boliden wants him to testify on its behalf, yet he also appears in clips from Toxic Playground, which the plaintiffs are presenting as evidence against the company.