When Beto of the Marúbo tribe in the Brazilian Amazon reached out to me and asked me to help tell his people’s story, I had no idea where the journey would lead. 8 years later, this independent documentary is almost complete. I am now asking for your help to finish the film and get us back to the Amazon for a strategy meeting with the tribes of the Vale do Javari to propose and define tangible initiatives that support their community.
More than a narrative of tribal reality in the Amazon, Tribes on the Edge suggests the universal story of our human tribe and how our future is interwoven with each other and with nature. This is a story that invokes the critical importance of respect and care – for land, culture, and humanity.
I first went to the Amazon with my grandfather Jacques Cousteau when I was 9 years old. 25 years later, I returned to film a documentary and as part of our filming, we attended a gathering of the Indigenous Peoples of the Vale do Javari in the Brazilian Amazon. I returned home from that expedition - but the stories and reality of the people I met were a constant presence. The list of challenges was long and overwhelming: hepatitis rates said to be close to 50-80%, high incidence and reoccurrence of malaria, illegal extractions on their ancestral land, a government decreasing funding for proper governance and protection of Indigenous territories. And in Javari, there is the largest concentration of vulnerable uncontacted tribes in the entire Amazon - at risk because of an encroaching developing world.
The indigenous people Vale do Javari help protect an ecosystem that produces 20% of the oxygen WE ALL breathe every day. The film allows us to share their story far and wide - but it is also a catalyst for advocacy and action. The accompanying impact campaign has three initiatives: education, advocacy, and activism. We have already started with some components of education and advocacy, but we need to keep going. We want to continue to give the people of Vale do Javari support beyond the film - setting in motion tangible actions guided and governed by the tribes themselves. And long after our camera crews are gone, these actions will be a source of support.