Duration: 1 hour 38 minutes
Filmmaker: Ryan Killackey
“Yasuni Man” is a gripping 90-minute film that showcases the pristine beauty of one of Earth’s most biodiverse regions – the Yasuni biosphere reserve. Crafted by the tenacious US biologist, Ryan Killackey, who battled numerous obstacles, from bullet ant stings to severe illnesses, to document the pressing story of a secluded forest community now threatened by US and Chinese oil interests.
The film comes at a pivotal moment in Yasuni’s history. Back in 2007, the Ecuadorian government launched an international fundraiser, offering to leave $7.2 billion worth of oil untouched if half of that value was donated for the area’s protection. However, with a mere $13 million raised, President Rafael Correa greenlit drilling in 2013. The documentary reveals the unsettling presence of oil companies in the area even before the fund-raising was concluded. It also provides a rare glimpse into the life and culture of the indigenous Waorani community in Boanamo, capturing their daily rituals, hunting expeditions, and the rich biodiversity surrounding them – from giant green anacondas to new species discovered by leading biologists.
Through the lens of Killackey, viewers also witness the grim reality of oil corporations drawing nearer, constructing infrastructure that paves the way for land exploitation and jeopardizing the indigenous communities. A desperate struggle between conservationists and oil interests plays out in Yasuni Man, as the indigenous peoples living in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon struggle to preserve their way of life against encroaching modernity. Filmmaker and biologist Ryan Patrick Killackey documents the staggering biodiversity of the Yasuni region at risk of destruction alongside the Waorani people who call it home.
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