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$120 pledged of $10,000 goal
By Juan Carlos Galeano
$120 pledged of $10,000 goal


The River is a journey, both a mythological and affectionate one, in an endangered Amazonia. For over a decade, author and filmmaker Juan Carlos Galeano has documented the ecological and cultural wisdom possessed by peoples of Amazonia. Given the unsurpassed biodiversity and pivotal role the Amazonian rainforest has to humankind and our entire planet, The River intends to bring attention to ecological spirituality present in the belief systems of Amazonians. Relying on fieldwork and interviews of indigenous, mestizo and shaman riverine dwellers, this feature-length film is a poetic reflection on the perceptions of Amazonians about their rivers as sentient beings. It is an urgent call to Western and globalized economies of the world tapping natural resources, often in a short sighted manner, that result in the disruption of the lives of people in Amazonia.



The River / Filmmaking Collaboration

Juan Carlos Galeano is an Amazonian poet, documentary filmmaker, and essayist whose fieldwork on symbolic narratives of riverine and forest people in the Amazon basin resulted in his production of a comprehensive collection of storytelling (Folktales of the Amazon, ABC-CLIO, 2008). As a filmmaker he made a plea for environmental justice, threatened landscapes and cultures of Amazonia in his documentary, The Trees Have a Mother (Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2008). He has published several books of poetry and has translated the works of North American poets into Spanish. His poetry inspired by Amazonian cosmologies and the modern world are anthologized and published in international journals such Casa de las Américas (Cuba), The Atlantic Monthly and Ploughshares (U.S.). He teaches Latin American poetry and Amazonian Cultures at Florida State University and is currently the director of the FSU Service and Learning Program: Journey into Amazonia in Perú.

Amy Elizabeth Sanderson is an American producer, director and editor with almost two decades of experience in the motion picture industry and documentary film production. Her film credits include the position of script supervisor on numerous feature films working alongside notable directors such as Werner Herzog, Lee Daniels and Stephen Frears. Additionally, she has collaborated on several full-length, award-winning documentaries seeing projects through conception, editorial and release. She has worked in New Orleans, New York, Los Angeles, Asia, India and Latin America. Areas of focus and passion include her advocacy for social issues and environmental justice through documentary.

Leoncio “Leo” Ramírez Vásquez is a Peruvian photographer, producer and a knowledgeable and experienced audiovisual artist of the Peruvian Amazon. Mentored by Yannik Nolin and Mario Acha, internationally known documentary filmmakers, “Leo” grew up in Iquitos in the Peruvian Amazon and was a general producer of the documentary “Amazónico Soy” (“I am Amazonian”). He is currently the director of Xinguito Producción Audiovisual and for many years he coordinated the Audio Visual Production unit of La Restinga and participated in itinerant audiovisual workshops for Kinomada (Iquitos,2009; Quebec,2010; Habana, 201; Mexico 2013). His documenting of various sustainable development projects for international and Peruvian NGOs has contributed to the cultural continuity of indigenous peoples and riverine inhabitants of the Amazon basin. 

Carlos Odría is Peruvian guitarist and musicologist. From 2009 to 2014 he composed traditional and contemporary Latin American music as a director for Aconcagua, a Latin American Music Ensemble at the Florida State University. He was a featured artist at the Florida Folk Festival and has offered Latin American music demonstrations as well as performed in many festivals, conferences, universities, and concert halls. His publications include a forthcoming chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation and an article in Ethnomusicology. Currently he is an Associate Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Boston. 

Rember Yahuarcani López is one the youngest and most recognized painters in the Amazon basin and has an amazing record of exhibitions and publications around Perú and in the world. With visionary symbolism, incorporating the wise perspective of his indigenous Uitoto nation in Peru, he successfully depicts a socialized nature. Textures, colors and themes of his works suggest the vibrant life of the forest, conviviality of species and the visible and invisible beings of the Amazon. The magical movement of his forms and balance of his paintings depicts the edifying spirituality and life of the indigenous people of Amazonia.



Risks and challenges

At this time, 95% of all footage for the film is complete, thanks to the expertise of local crew who are well-versed on the unique location challenges for the production of this documentary. Through a lifetime of research and commitment to the region, director Juan Carlos Galeano has established deep relationships with indigenous and mestizo cultures in the Peruvian Amazon. The film is near completion and currently in editorial. Additional support will help to complete additional photography, reshoots and help to cover post-production costs such as a final audio mix. The filmmaking team is composed of individuals from the Amazonian culture; all cinematography was completed by local Leoncio “Leo” Ramírez Vásquez and artwork from renown Amazonian painter Rember Yahuarcani López will be included in the final version of the feature-length film. Original music for the film has been composed by Peruvian guitarist, Carlos Odría. With the help of experienced camera and sound colleagues in the Peruvian Amazon and post-production contributions in the U.S., The River is slated for completion no later than June of 2017. The film is already scheduled to be premiered Friday, June 23rd at the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) June 20 - 24, 2017 at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. The filmmakers hope to continue festival, academic and cultural organizational opportunities to showcase this film.

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