“If they disappear, so will that rainforest.” Céline Cousteau presents Tribes on the Edge

Communities Mar 4, 2021
The Forest Trends Team
Celine Cousteau and a Matis elder watching the quad-copter overhead filming part of the Tribes on the Edge documentary in the Matis village Tawaya in the Vale do Javari, Brazil.

Tribes on the Edge follows filmmaker Céline Cousteau as she returns to the Brazilian Amazon after a fateful email from Beto of the Marúbo tribe beckons her back to help tell his people’s story.

Céline ventures into the heart of the jungle to explore the health crises and the threats to land and human rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Vale do Javari, expanding the view to how this is relevant to our own lives.

From a history of invaders bringing devastating diseases all the more relevant in our current global pandemic, to the ongoing illegal activities including hunting, gold mining and deforestation, to alarming challenges to protections of their land and human rights.

Much more than a narrative of tribal reality in the Amazon, the film provides a perspective on how our future is interwoven with theirs and with nature. The indigenous communities are fighting to protect their home, critical to the ecological balance of our planet, and as a result…they protect us.

Beto Borges, the Director of Forest Trends’ Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative, sat down with Céline in late 2020 for a conversation about her new film, challenges faced by indigenous communities in the Vale do Javari, and working with Forest Trends to support these communities as they fight to protect their lands and sovereignty.

“The threats are very much like the ones elsewhere in the Amazon: illegal deforestation, illegal gold mining, which pollutes the rivers, natural resource depletion, illegal fishing and hunting,” she explains. “We have come to understand that helping bring economic value to the Javari through the people that are there will be one of the ways to support their cause and contribute to conserve their forest homelands. One of the best ways to do that is to help people in the Javari strengthen sovereignty over their territories.

“Partnerships are essential to us getting this work done. To me, the authenticity with which people do what they do is more important than the resources they might have. Much like my team and I have built trust and credibility with people in the Javari, investors, and other collaborators, we recognized that Forest Trends has done the same where it works, and has the expertise we need in a partner on the Javari Project.”

Watch the trailer below. Tribes on the Edge is now available on VOD including iTunes and Amazon. Visit the official website for a full list of available platforms: https://tribesontheedge.com/.

Céline and her team have launched an impact campaign to educate the world about the crisis in the Vale do Javari, and to grow support for indigenous tribes’ efforts to protect their homelands and communities. Please click here to act now.

Tribes on the Edge is directed, produced, and co-written by Céline Cousteau. Céline comes from a lineage of explorers, and as a humanitarian and environmental activist she works with a variety of mediums that range from documentaries to art, from consulting with corporations and foundations to public speaking. She is also the founder and executive director of CauseCentric Productions. Extending her family legacy and her expertise, Céline co-founded The Outdoor Film Fellowship, a nonprofit program whose mission is to empower the next generation of filmmakers, creatives, and activists to inspire change through leadership, film, and the arts. Céline is ambassador for the TreadRight Foundation and on the board of directors of the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Tribes on the Edge is Céline’s first full feature documentary. The film is co-written by Joseph Kwong and Executive Produced by Bill Miller, Mercedes Zobel, James Cox and Çapkin Van Alphen. TRIBES ON THE EDGE took home the Special Jury Award at the Brazil International Film Festival, and the Impact Award at the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival. Additional festivals include Black Hills International Film Festival (Global Reach Award), ART & TUR International Film Festival (Ethnography and Society Award), United Nations Association Film Festival, San Diego International Film Festival, Earth X Festival, Jackson Wild Media Summit, Vision Du Reel Film Festival, San Francisco Green Film Festival, National Geographic Exodus Aveiro Festival (Portugal) and One Earth Film Festival.

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