Where do you draw the line?
Why is the Ecuadorian government proposing to extract oil in an area frequently classified by ecologists as one of the most bio-diverse rainforest regions left intact on earth?
This documentary was filmed in Sani Isla and Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. It gives voice to an indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Amazon. To break the bond with the forest that has sustained their people for generations would be the death of their culture and community. Their resolve is tested in the face of corruption, bribery and greed as well as oil companies and the military threatening to take over the land by force.
At first glance it might appear that the community is just another victim of big oil’s need to feed ‘our’ collective habit. But a more complex story emerges: China taking over the role of the IMF and World Bank funding overseas development in return for oil; well-meaning but under resourced and ultimately failing, local government and worldwide initiatives; the international community turning a blind eye; blatant denial of indigenous rights; as well as the desires of the community themselves, to develop in line with modern expectations.
The film features: - Academics who explain the government’s push for oil in order to fund development; - Leading researchers who demonstrate the unique species and rich biodiversity existing within the region; - Community members explaining their long history in the area, and their plans for a sustainable future based on eco-tourism for future generations, as well as the lengths they will go to in order to protect their community; - A government minister who was part of a now cancelled initiative which could have saved the region entirely. - Covertly captured footage of an oil production platform guarded by the military (many camera crews have tried and failed to gain access) - Footage of an oil slick which flowed down through Ecuador into Peru and The Amazon itself.
Biologists classify this region as one of the most bio-diverse regions on the planet. To extract oil in what we all know as ‘the lungs of the earth’ for 8 days worth of oil (at current rates of world consumption) would bring this particular ecosystem to the brink of collapse. In a globalised world of mass consumption run on fossil fuels, could we all play in a part in the destruction of this pristine rainforest? If so, 'Where do you draw the line?'
(Production notes:) Produced by 3 recent uni-graduate friends. All 3 grew up in Bristol and went off to Ecuador on a self-funded whim having saved up for a year after reading a newspaper article in The Guardian. ‘How hard can it be to make a film?’ As they soon found out, very. They had no experience of film making and learned everything along the way. Looking through the footage it became clear that they had captured a snapshot of a global issue with lasting implications for us all. Recognising the importance of the subject matter Daddy G suggested he might be interested in helping raise awareness - he recorded his voiceover in between tours having become committed to the project. Released with the intention of raising awareness and educating, this film is not expected to generate any profit.