The last two surviving members of the Piripkura people, a nomadic tribe in the Mato Grasso region of Brazil, struggle to maintain their indigenous way of life amidst the region’s massive deforestation. Living deep in the rain forest, Pakyî and Tamandua live off the land relying on a machete, an ax, and a torch lit in 1998. Jair Candor, a coordinator with the Brazilian Foundation for Indigenous People, made contact in 1989 and arranged for protected status which must be renewed every two years. As time runs short, Candor and the camera team trek deep into the uninhabited region to find traces of the men as the systemic violence used against indigenous Amazon people is revealed, a situation likely to become more perilous with Brazil’s newly elected President.
The PIRIPKURA directors met Jair Candor when filming a training program run by the Brazilian Foundation for Indigenous Peoples (FUNAI), for the officials of the Ethnic-Environmental Protection Fronts of the Amazon. At this meeting, Jair – who is the coordinator of the Madeirinha-Juruena Ethnic-Environmental Protection Front – told of his experience among the butterfly people and expressed his dream of recording this history.
Ethnic-Environmental Protection Fronts of the Amazon are faced with serious problems in dealing with budget cuts, downsizing and setbacks in the indigenous rights agenda in recent years. The bases of the fronts are to ensure and protect remote communities physically, culturally and from contact through location, monitoring, protection and surveillance actions. Currently, there are 113 records of remote indigenous communities in the Amazon, of which 26 have been confirmed. The 11 existing Protection Fronts are responsible for monitoring and protecting approximately 3% of the Brazilian territory.
Produced by Zeza Films with associate producers Maria Farinha Filmes and Grifa Filmes, PIRIPKURA received Best Documentary at the Festival do Rio in Rio de Janeiro, the Human Rights Award at IDFA, and Best International Documentary at Docville.