Help me tell this story through Yasuni Man, a documentary film shot on site, deep in the Amazon, in true HD.
As a wildlife biologist and documentary filmmaker who has produced television and films for NatGeo and PBS, for the past five years I have been working and living among indigenous communities deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Where the Amazon River, the Andes Mountains and the Equator meet—below the narrow land bridge linking North and South America—lies the most dazzling spectacle of plants, animals and human cultures known anywhere on Earth. Here live the Waorani, an isolated tribe with a long and sometimes violent history. And beneath them all lay vast reserves of oil, the tapping of which threatens the existence of an ancient people and the fragile ecosystem that sustains them.
In Yasuni Man, you will be taken on a heart-pounding expedition by three Waorani brothers. Through their eyes, witness their unique, fragile and sometimes deadly culture. Discover spectacular wildlife existing nowhere else on Earth. And have your eyes opened to how our dependence on oil is threatening this once pristine ecosystem.
1. WATCH my film’s promo video and become a financial backer by visiting my Kickstarter page. Contributions of any size will help me raise the financing I need to complete both filming and post-production. Receive Yasuni Man gifts in return for your support—from copies of my films to a guided tour of the Amazon.
2. SHARE this Facebook and Twitter message with your contacts and family. The more people watch the promo and become a financial backer, the faster and better I can tell this story.
3. FOLLOW our progress and build support by becoming a Yasuni Man Facebook and Twitter fan. You’ll receive exclusive updates on the film as we make it, as well as access information about upcoming Yasuni Man events and media.
Thank you for your support, and please spread the word about Yasuni Man: The Film!
Ryan Killackey, Founder, Cinematographer and Director – Renacuajo Productions
Become a backer of Yasuni Man now: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2065152563/yasuni-man-the-film
To become a financial backer and learn more, visit my web-site at www.renacuajoproductions.com
After living in isolation for 6,000 years, the Waorani were contacted by rubber barons and the Shell Petroleum Company near the turn of the 20th century. Invaded by outsiders seeking natural resources, with spears and blowguns the Waorani defended their land and drove out the intruders.
In the 1950’s, Christian missionaries moved in to tame the Waorani, known as the Auca, a Kichwa word for “savage.” Though five Americans were speared to death at first encounter, in time they established friendly contact. Having never been exposed to western diseases, a series of epidemics drove the Waorani to near extinction. The sudden, unexplained deaths led to brutal internal warring among the tribe, with homicides reaching 42 percent of deaths—the highest homicide rate known to man.
The tribes split and weakened, petroleum companies seized the chance to exploit the region’s oil wealth—and have been ever since. But the Waorani and neighboring tribes continue to fight against outside interference. Most recently, an illegal logger was speared to death in 2008.
As years passed, human rights were abused and oil spills fragmented the terrain, the region’s importance as a treasure of biodiversity grew. The sheer density of species here is greater than anywhere else known to man.
In an effort to preserve the region’s people, its resources and astonishing array of wildlife, in the 1970’s the United Nations declared this swath of Amazon a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renaming it Yasuni Man Biosphere Reserve. This designation has done little, however, to protect Yasuni Man from the heavy hand of the industrialized world.
But there is hope. The government of Ecuador recently declared that it would leave untouched one of Yasuni Man’s largest oil fields, as long as the international community compensates Ecuador for the revenue it will lose by preserving it. This novel approach is gaining momentum. On August 3, the UN announced the Yasuni-ITT non-drilling initiative, a new fund through which wealthy countries can both offset their carbon emissions while compensating Ecuador for preserving the Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) oil field. But there’s fine print: Countries have to provide the money, and any agreements will expire after only 10 years.
What comes next for the Yasuni Man preserve—its people, its wildlife, the land and its oil? For how long can the Waorani defend themselves with spears and blowguns, while tenuous international agreements keep the oil industry at bay?