Good news! In commemoration of the Day of Action for Rivers, we’re making available, for free download, the documentary film Belo Monte: After the Flood, directed by award-winning filmmaker Todd Southgate, in co-production with International Rivers, Amazon Watch and Cultures of Resistance.
The documentary is now available to view online and download at the film’s website, which you can access here!
The film explores the history and consequences of one of the world’s most controversial dam projects, built on the Xingu River in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.
Todd has traveled to the Amazon a dozen times over the course of seven years to document the conflicts surrounding the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Project, and in early March 2016 he returned to the region as the dam’s construction neared completion. Through interviews with indigenous leaders, activists and local residents, Belo Monte: After the Flood illustrates how this multi-billion dollar mega-project has left a disastrous legacy of broken promises and socio-environmental damage, and shattered livelihoods among local communities of the Xingu.
Narrated by award-winning actors Peter Coyote (English version) and Marcos Palmeira (Portuguese version), the documentary chronicles the inspiring work of indigenous peoples, grassroots activists, and their allies to prevent dam construction and its many impacts. It exposes the gross disregard for the rule of law that marked the entire project, including a massive corruption scandal involving high-level politicians and construction companies. And it shows the unfulfilled promises for bringing “progress” to this remote Amazonian region.
Though Belo Monte’s first turbines became operational in 2016, Belo Monte: After the Flood shows that the struggle for justice and accountability for crimes committed by dam builders continues, and that the Amazon faces more dam threats similar to Belo Monte. On a neighboring tributary to the Xingu River, resistance is growing to stop the Brazilian government’s plan to dam the Tapajós River, home to the Munduruku, an indigenous group that has relied on this river and its basin since time immemorial.
Since the film was first premiered in late 2016, it has demonstrated huge potential for raising awareness and stimulating public debate on this critical issue. The film has also been well received at film festivals such as the Fest CineAmazônia, where it won a popular jury award for best picture!
We’ve also prepared a fact sheet that serves as a companion guide, which you can download here and from the film’s website. It provides additional information and references for key topics addressed in the film, as well as suggested questions for group discussion. We hope this short companion guide will help further viewers’ understanding of key issues raised in the film, and will be a tool for organizing discussions at community gatherings and open public events.