Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) presents Fire in the Forest, a VR film that brings the Amazon, indigenous peoples and their allies in major cities closer together. The short length documentary will debut at the It’s All True Festival, in São Paulo.
Many people dream of one day visiting an indigenous village in the Amazon. But most will never achieve that — because of distance, cost and other obstacles. If this is your case, problem solved (or at least part of it). Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) presents Fire in the Forest, a 7-minute VR film that places the viewer directly in the middle of a Waurá village, in the Xingu Indigenous Reserve, located in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso.
The film is co-produced by ISA and Academia de Filmes. The worldwide premiere will occur at the It’s All True International Documentary Film Festival, held in São Paulo. The first screening will take place on Thursday, April 27, at 6 p.m., at Centro Cultural São Paulo. Two Waurá leaders from the Xingu Reserve are invited to join the audience: Atakaho Waurá, chief of the Piyulaga village, and his interpreter, Arikutua Waurá.
Directed by Tadeu Jungle and narrated by actress Fernanda Torres, the 360-degree film takes the viewer into the daily lives of the indigenous community and presents the threat that looms over the Waurá and all the peoples of the Amazon: out-of-control forest fires.
Used for thousands of year by indigenous people to clear their fields for subsistence farming, the fire is now spreading uncontrolled through the forest. It is one of the results of deforestation in areas surrounding the Xingu Reserve and of climate change.
“We arrived at the village with the intention of showing the daily routine of the people. But right off we discovered a fire just a few meters from a long house, or maloca. The film immediately took on a sense of urgency,” says moviemaker Tadeu Jungle. “The Xingu Indigenous Reserve, home to the Waurá and other 15 indigenous peoples, is an island of forest surrounded by soybean farms on all sides,” explains André Villas Bôas, ISA’s executive secretary. “These uncontrolled fires are the direct result of deforestation in areas around Xingu. This process alters rain patterns, changes the region’s climate, causes the forest to dry out, and makes it more flammable,” he adds.
Fishing, football, ceramics and manioc flour production are some of the routine activities of the community shown in this immersive documentary. The short film also shows a classroom, the so-called “house of men” and the inside of a long house, or maloca. Fire in the Forest paints an up-to-date portrait in which traditional culture and modern habits coexist in the daily lives of the people. “Like many peoples of the Xingu, the Waurá have adopted customs and technology from our society, while also preserving the most important aspects of their cultural traditions,” says ISA’s Paulo Junqueira, who works directly with the people in the Xingu Reserve.
The village of Piyulaga, in the Xingu Indigenous Reserve, has 560 Waura (or Wauja) inhabitants. Famous for their ceramics, basket weaving and feather art, they have mobilized themselves to fight the wild fires that threaten the forest and life in the Xingu Reserve. Through a series of initiatives — like support and education in fire control and management, forming of indigenous fire brigades, satellite monitoring of hot spots and forest restoration — , ISA is helping the residents of Xingu face this challenge.
After its release at the It’s All True Film Festival, Fire in the Forest will be exhibited in a series of events promoted by ISA and Academia de Filmes in coming months. In mid-June, the film will also be made available online, free of charge, for exhibition in 360 degrees, through ISA’s YouTube channel, as well as via the Fogo na Floresta (Portuguese) and Fire in the Forest (English) apps, available at App Store and Google Play.