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El Río is a poetic tribute to the rivers, ecosystems and communities of the Amazon Basin that

recasts and remythologizes the ecological spirituality of indigenous people in a rapidly changing world. Driven by the continual presence of the Yakumama, the mother of rivers, El Río draws attention to the sophisticated knowledge systems and scientific literacies that Amazonian communities have developed over thousands of years to interpret globalization, climate change and contentious human relationships with rivers, ecosystems and the species that live there.


Through the voices and perspectives of Amazonians, interspersed with original music

composed out of indigenous songs, original poems and vivid imagery of the landscape, the film shows how the spiritual beings that dwell in the waters and forests inspire stories which help communities visualize the challenges they are facing and navigate the everyday ethics of encounter with other species in an increasingly threatened environment. An affectionate and mythological journey through the Amazon, Napo, Nanay, and Itaya Rivers, the film also foregrounds the environmental challenges faced by these communities. For example, the film recounts how the mayor of Iquitos, Peru dredged the Amazon River to save a few streets of the metropolitan area, which directly resulted in massive floods and destruction of several riverine communities and ecosystems. However, rather than remaining mired in the alarming destruction of Amazonia, the film brings to the forefront the exemplary resilience and survival of indigenous peoples whose knowledge emerges from their sense of respect and love for their lands and rivers.

El Río was directed and produced by Juan Carlos Galeano.

Director of Photography Leoncio Ramírez Vásquez. Original Music Carlos Odría. 

Associate Producers Leoncio Ramírez Vásquez and Amy Sanderson. 

Drawings by Amazonian artists Rember Yahuarcani López & Jaime Luis Choclote Martínez.

Special thanks to Xinguito Producción Audiovisual-Iquitos-Perú. Formabiap-Aidesep-Iquitos-Perú. Winthrop King Institute USA.

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