Brazil’s “Piripkura” has won the Amsterdam Human Rights Award at this year’s International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Recognition for a devastating chronicle, the award comes with a cash prize of €25,000 ($29,000).
The jury said of the film: “With this poignant, exceptional story, the filmmakers tackle a broad series of issues that should be high up on the international human rights agenda. The filmic quality of this documentary left us no choice but to award the Amsterdam Human Rights Award to ‘Piripkura.’”
The film was produced by Brazil’s Zeza Filmes with Maria Farinha Filmes and Grifa Filmes as associate producers.
Zeza Filmes focuses on projects which have a personal human approach. They are currently working on a fiction series titled “Incógnita,” and the documentary film “Meu Querido Supermercado,” with producer Casa Redonda. The later received the IDFA Bertha Fund in 2015.
Farinha Filmes produces and distributes stories meant to raise awareness about social issues which will affect broad audiences. Maria Farinha was the first Brazilian producer and distributor to receive the international B Corp certification label, awarded to companies that offer, based on their resources, solutions to the social and environmental problems of the world.
Grifa Filmes has been producing award-winning content for Brazilian TV for two decades. In that time the company has become one of Brazil’s most awarded content creators and has picked up two nominations for International Emmys.
“Piripkura,” is a a modern-day ethnographic documentary with distinct differences from its scholarly predecessors. Ethnographic filmmaking started with voyeuristic or educational intentions, as an attempt to show the world something it had never seen. Perhaps it says something about the modern world that these films are now made in the spirit of conservation.
The film follows Jair Candor, an official with Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency FUNAI, as he ventures into one of the Amazon’s protected indigenous lands, Piripkua. Only three Piripkura tribe-members are still alive today, and only two in their native land. The third, Rita, was forced to flee the lands when logging companies sent in mercenaries to kill the tribespeople, and thus lift government protections of the area. Rita accompanies Candor on his initial visits to confirm the continued existence of Pakyî and Tamandua, the last remaining Piripkura, an undertaking which must be done to sustain the areas protected status. Beyond the inherent dangers of living in the Amazon; corporate farms, fires, logging companies and massive budget cuts to aid agencies are constant threats to the two men.
Talking with Variety about the circumstances in Brazil which contribute to current state of affairs for indigenous peoples, Mariana Oliva – executive producer on the film – said: “The Brazilian congress has never been so conservative in its history, and the agribusiness groups are stronger than ever. The government has imposed important and significant cuts on FUNAI administration’s budget. One of the consequences is that the invasions against indigenous territory has increased.”
The Amsterdam Human Rights Award will be presented on Monday evening by alder-person Simone Kukenheim. “Piripkura” is also nominated for the IDFA Competition for First Appearance, with all IDFA awards winners to be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 22.
As for getting “Piripkura” in front of audiences once its festival run is finished, Oliva said: “We are negotiating the possibility of launching in the theaters in Brazil. But, we are definitely designing an impact campaign.”
She added: “We really hope to be able to share the film with the North American audience soon. After its premiere at Canal Curta! we will share the film on Videocamp, a platform where the film will be available for people interest in organizing public screenings.”
When asked to expand on the impact campaign, Oliva explained, “With associate producer Maria Farinha we are talking with national and international references in this area which have been leading important actions, campaigns and advocacy programs to protect indigenous rights and to protect the Amazon Forest like Greenpeace, APIB, ISA (Instituto Socioambiental) and CTI to use the film as a tool.”
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