Short film starring Julie Christie reveals environmental disaster in Ecuadorian Amazon as oil company Chevron fights $9.5 billion clean up costs and damages ruling
Independent Film Company Brass Moustache has produced a short arts documentary; “The Afectados” (the affected ones) to highlight the alleged contamination of the Ecuadorian Amazon by US oil giant Chevron, which faces a $9.5 billion clean-up costs and damages ruling.
The beautifully shot 13-minute film includes the emotional first-hand accounts of rainforest residents and powerful interviews with leading academics.
“The Afectados” is structured around the powerful narration of Academy award winning screen icon Julie Christie, reading Pablo Neruda’s poetic masterpiece, The United Fruit Company, and a unique sound-score composed from instrumented Amazon field recordings.
The percussive, often profuse score is composed and performed by Drew McConnell, of Babyshambles, and James Carey; long time Banksy collaborator previously Oscar-nominated for “Exit Through The Gift Shop”.
Travelling through the tragically tainted rainforest of Sucumbíos province in northeast Ecuador, the production team met indigenous people with shocking stories of polluted rivers, spontaneous miscarriage, cancer and other serious illnesses.
Julie Christie said:
“I find it both striking and distressing that in 2015, a poem written by Pablo Neruda in 1950 can still be a fitting statement on the relationship between a transnational company and poor, indigenous Latin Americans.
“Despite much legal chicanery across many years and in many territories, the real people at the heart of this story and the precious Amazon environment that was so badly impacted by what was an astounding level of pollution are both still neglected… I hope in some small way that this film can introduce people around the world to a vitally important story and increase awareness of the many global campaigns to achieve justice for the afectados, their land and life sources. They have waited 23 years for justice; they should not have to wait any longer.”
“The Afectados” director, Mark Donne, said:
“This story is one of global importance. It shows us the psychology of a multinational company and its attitude towards small sovereign states, innocent indigenous people and precious, diverse forest.
“Filming in the Ecuadorian Amazon and seeing with my own eyes the scale of destruction caused by years of toxic pollution, I cannot help on a human level yearning for justice for the people I talked to. We hope we’ve brought this story to life, and that urgent justice will be delivered to the Ecuadorian people blighted by a simply colossal act of pollution.”
Amazon “Afectado” Alejandra Soto says in the film: “Chevron is a company with a lot of economic power and they think they are god on earth. It will set a precedent for them, once they recognize the harm they have caused.”
Jeremy Leggett, Associate Fellow at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, said: “A civilised world cannot allow this kind of behaviour by its corporations.”