Chico Mendes at his home in Xapuri, Acre, in 1988. Photo: Miranda Smith/Creative Commons.
Chico Mendes at his home in Xapuri, Acre, in 1988. Photo: Miranda Smith/Creative Commons.

The Ecospeaker Show 2021 takes place within the scope of the National Environment Week, established in 1981 with the aim of promoting community participation in the preservation of Brazil's natural heritage. Thus, from June 2nd to 9th, the event makes 16 films and two series around this theme available for free. Films can be accessed on the show website and on the partner platform Fine Arts à la Carte.

Chico Mendes at his home in Xapuri, Acre, in 1988. Photo: Miranda Smith/Creative Commons.
Chico Mendes at his home in Xapuri, Acre, in 1988. Photo: Miranda Smith/Creative Commons.

One of the highlights of the festival is the feature film BR Above All, which will make its world premiere. Made with the support of the Pulitzer Center's Rainforest Journalism Fund, the film directed by Fred Rahal Mauro deals with the impacts of the possible expansion of the BR-163 highway, whose route cuts through the Amazon forest towards the border with Suriname, a project created during the dictatorship civil-military (1964-1985). Already the series The Decade of Destruction, by Adrian Cowell and Vicente Rios and considered a milestone in environmental documentary, has six episodes in the schedule. Directed between 1980 and 1990, the production presents the Amazonian reality, especially the struggle for land and the violence of farmers against rural workers, as well as the conflict between the former mining company CVRD (currently Vale S/A) and garimpeiros. The episode “Chico Mendes – Eu Quero Viver” focuses on the trajectory of the unionist, political activist and environmentalist and highlights his struggle on behalf of rubber tappers in the Amazon.

Check the schedule

In the film grid there are works signed by Wolney Oliveira (rubber soldiers), Eryk Rocha (Edna), Luiz Bolognesi (The Last Forest), Stephen Ciavatta (Amazon Corporation), Belisario Franca (Eternal Amazon), Victor Lopes (Serra Pelada: The Legend of the Golden Mountain), Christiane Torloni and Miguel Przewodowski (Amazon, the Awakening of Forestry), Fernando Segtowick (The Lake Reflection), Julia Mariano (threatened), Márcio Isensee and Sá (Under the Ox's Paw), Daniel Junge (Killed Sister Dorothy), Heidi Brandenburg Sierralta and Mathew Orzel (When Two Worlds Collide).

The Last Forest, by director Luiz Bolognesi, was the closing film of the Festival It's All True in 2021 and had its world premiere at the Panorama Show of the renowned Berlin Film Festival (arte!brasileiros checked out the film and you can read our impressions here). Another film that had previously been shown at the Berlinale is The Reflection in the Lake, by Fernando Segtowick, a work that deals with riverside communities located near the Tucuruí hydroelectric plant, in Pará. Already When Two Worlds Collide, by Heidi Brandenburg Sierralta and Mathew Orzel, won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The work investigates the violent conflict unleashed in the Peruvian Amazon by an oil, ore and gas extraction project, which victimized the indigenous peoples residing there.

Scene from "The Last Forest". Photo: Pedro Márquez / Publicity.
Scene from "The Last Forest". Photo: Pedro Márquez / Publicity.

In addition, the Ecospeaker Show recalls award-winning documentaries in its past editions. It is the case of Under the Ox's Paw, by Márcio Isensee e Sá, and the short film threatened, by Julia Mariano. The first focuses on the relationship between livestock and the Amazon, while the second shows the struggle of small farmers in the south and southeast of Pará.

The festival also features three of the most important films signed by Jorge Bodanzky: Iracema, An Amazon Transa (1974), co-directed by Orlando Senna, Jari (1979) and third millennium (1981), both co-directed by Wolf Gauer.

agenda of debates

June 3, Thursday at 19pm
The debate “Where does the Transamazônica lead?” takes place, in which the directors of the series Transamazon: A Road to the Past Jorge Bodanzky and Fabiano Maciel, documentarian João Moreira Salles, Alessandra Munduruku (to be confirmed) and Danicley de Aguiar, from Greenpeace Brazil. Journalist Flavia Guerra does the mediation.

June 4th, Friday at 19pm
“Amazon: A Question of Land(s)” is the topic of debate scheduled for June 4th. There are several economic activities that put pressure on the largest tropical forest in the world and the traditional peoples who live there. Currently, a series of laws in progress seek to regulate such activities. Who are the main beneficiaries of these laws? Brenda Brito, researcher at Imazon (Instituto do Homem e do Meio Ambiente da Amazônia), Marcello Brito, president of ABAG (Brazilian Agribusiness Association) and Sônia Guajajara, national indigenous leader (APIB) are participating in the meeting. The journalist from Acre Fábio Pontes does the mediation.

June 7, Monday at 19pm
The debate “Amazon: Infrastructure for Whom?” takes place. The Amazon has been the scene of economic activities since Colonial Brazil, but it was only during the military dictatorship that large-scale development projects emerged, bringing with it disorderly occupation and strong deforestation. Today, there is a lot of talk about the need for infrastructure in the region to leverage the economy and support a sustainable development project. How to solve the bottleneck without amplifying the destruction? Will a new understanding of the territory be necessary to achieve this goal? Ana Cristina Barros, researcher at the CPI – Climate Policy Initiative, includes Suely Araújo, senior specialist in Public Policies at the Climate Observatory and former president of IBAMA, and Simão Jatene, former governor of Pará. Sérgio Leitão, director of Instituto Escolhas, does the mediation.

June 8, Tuesday at 19pm
“Roots of the Amazon: Designing the Future” is the debate on June 8th. When the topic is the future of the Amazon, there is talk of bioeconomy, carbon market, valorization of the standing forest, countless projects that contemplate the biodiversity of the largest forest in the world and the unaccounted for 'environmental services' it provides. On the other hand, there is also a cultural effervescence – in the arts, in gastronomy, in thought and millenary knowledge of the multiple cultures of the Amazon that need recognition. The debate proposes a new look at the Amazon, its enormous potential and the contribution of its peoples. Ricardo Abramovay, senior professor of the Environmental Science Program at the Institute of Energy and Environment (IEE/USP) and author of Amazon: For a Knowledge Economy of Nature, the Secretary of Science and Technology of Amazonas Tatiana Schor and Eliakin Rufino, composer and music producer from Roraima. Mariano Cenamo, director of Idesam/AMAZ mediates.

June 9, Wednesday at 19pm
The event “Amazon and Possible Futures” closes the cycle of debates. This is a conversation about the documentary BR Above All, which portrays the socio-environmental diversity in one of the most preserved parts of the Brazilian forest, and the prospects for the arrival of a highway in the region. Participating in the panel are Fred Rahal Mauro, director of the film, Angela Kaxuyana (to be confirmed), from COIAB – Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, and Carlos Printes, from ARQMO – Association of Remaining Communities of Quilombos of the Municipality of Oriximiná.

To learn more about the festival's parallel activities, such as the webinar and masterclass with Jorge Bodanzky, visit this link.

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