SPEARS FROM ALL SIDES
USA 2019 • 90 min
Producer: Phantom Films
Country of shooting: Ecuador/USA
Since the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, Ecuador’s Waorani tribe have defended their Amazon rainforest with spears. In the 1950’s, American missionaries cleared the way for oil companies to enter Waorani lands. Now, 70% of Ecuador’s Amazon, home to some twelve tribes, has been divided into oil blocks, polluting one of the most bio diverse rainforests of the planet. Only one small tribe, the Waorani, have successfully fought to keep oil off most of their land. Filmed over three years, up to the imminent auction of Waorani oil Block 22, Spears from all Sides follows the young, charismatic Waorani activist Opi as he tells the dramatic story of a vehement, community-based resistance by tribal communities in one of the most remote and beautiful areas of the world. It reveals the duplicity of the Ecuadorean government and the oil companies in their attempts to defeat the Waorani at all costs. Out of disaster, Opi sees a possibility of hope – regaining the autonomy they lost with the arrival of the missionaries sixty years ago.
Christopher Walker is an award-winning producer and director of documentaries for international television. He recently completed Tar Sands: To the ends of the earth for Friends of the Earth Europe and Congo-Oil gotten gains for Al Jazeera English. Other films include The dreamers of Arnhem Land, which tells how Aborigines ensure their cultural survival in northern Australia, and Regopstaan’s dream, about how the last surviving South African Bushmen are reclaiming their land in the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park. His film Trinkets & beads, released in 1996, is also about the Waorani’s fight against international oil companies and was broadcasted in twenty countries, apart from being shown at many festivals, including Viscult.