Eskawata Kayawai - The Spirit of Transformation

*First feature, Amazon Rainforest, First nation thematic*
Still looking to premier in many countries.
Subtitles in ENG/ESP/FR.

This is the story of a native people from Brazil living in the deep western Amazon, returning to their ancestral and spiritual way of life by getting in touch with their own culture and identity.

SHORT SYNOPSIS
In the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, the Huni Kuin people are undergoing a profound renaissance of their identity. After enduring decades of slavery, massacres, and cultural suppression, their resurgence began in 2000. Two decades later, they're thriving at a cultural peak, rediscovering and embracing their true heritage.

LONG SYNOPSIS
A journey into the heart of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest, where the self-proclaimed Huni Kuin (true people) are undergoing a remarkable cultural renaissance. Enduring decades of slavery and oppression, they were once forbidden to live their true identity. Over the past 20 years, guided by spiritual leader Ninawá Pai da Mata and other revered figures, these communities within the Humaitá Indigenous Land have prayed and strengthened their culture, remembering and practicing the ancient ways.
Today, they stand at a cultural zenith—a tale of unwavering resilience and fortitude emanating from the heart of the Amazon, now shared and narrated by the Huni Kuin themselves, resonating across the world in these transformative times.

  • Lara Jacoski
    Director
  • Patrick Dequech Belem
    Director
  • Lara Jacoski
    Writer
  • Oona Chaplin
    Producer
    Avatar 3
  • Ninawá Pai da Mata Huni Kuin
    Producer
  • Ninawá Pai da Mata Huni Kuin
    Key Cast
  • Hinterland VA
    Co-production
    The Act of Killing
  • Torstein Grude
    Executive Producer
    The Act of Killing
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Eskawata Kayawai - O Espírito da Transformação
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 10 minutes 26 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 10, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Brazil
  • Country of Filming:
    Brazil
  • Language:
    English, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
    Digtal
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Premiere at the world conference PS23
    Denver, Colorado
    United States
    June 6, 2023
    Premiere at the world conference PS23 (Psychedelic Science Conference) from MAPS, presented by Lara Jacoski
  • Aniwa Gathering - International gathering of indigenous elders
    Big Bear
    United States
    June 10, 2023
    Presented by Lara Jacoski together with Mapu Huni Kuin and Ninawá Pai da Mata Huni Kuin.
  • One Month US tour
    - Los Angeles (CA), Big Bear (CA), Denver (CO), Boulder (NM), Placitas (NM), Santa Fe (NM), Brooklyn and Manhattan - NYC (NY), New Haven (NY), Seattle (WA), Port Townsend (WA), Portland (OR), Grass Valley (CA), Berkeley (CA), Oakland (CA) and Topanga (LA).
    United States
    July 1, 2023
  • Construir Cine Film Festival
    Buenos Aires
    Argentina
    June 10, 2023
    Premiere in Argentina
    Special Award.
  • Boom Festival
    Idanha-A-Nova
    Portugal
    July 21, 2023
    Invited to BOOM Festival to premiere in Portugal
  • One month US tour together with Chacruna Institute and Global Psychedelic Society
    - Atlanta (GE), Kensington (MD), Richmond (VA), Washington (DC), Brooklyn - New York (NY), Woodstock (NY), Martha’s Vineyard (MA), Norwich (CT), New Haven (CT), New York - Manhattan and Queens (NY).
    United States
    August 1, 2023
    Presented by Lara Jacoski - inviting Joseph Mays (IRI - Indigenous Reciprocity Initiative) and eventually other speakers such as Bia Labate (Chacruna Institute), Danielle Negrini (SF Psychedelic Society) and Maxi Cohen (film director based in NY).
  • Festival De Cine Latino Americano
    Texas
    United States
    September 22, 2023
    Best Documentary Award
  • Outerbank Film Festival by The Outer Banks
    North Carolina
    United States
    November 2, 2023
    Best Documentary Science and Spirituality
Distribution Information
  • Moro Filmes
    Sales Agent
Director Biography - Lara Jacoski, Patrick Dequech Belem

Lara Jacoski and Patrick Belem co-direct Bem-te-vi Produções, an independent Brazilian film production house. Their journey as nomadic filmmakers, spanning continents since 2012, centers on crafting ethnographic documentaries that capture ancestral cultures and diverse perspectives on the world. Their focus lies in producing multicultural projects that transcend language barriers, revealing the intrinsic beauty and authenticity of human cultures and individuals embracing their genuine narratives.

Their portfolio includes global impactful works like "Balansophy" (2012 – honored at the Festival Passion For Freedom - London/UK), "Progress" in Morocco for an art residency (2012, And'Art Casablanca), the collaboration with NGOs in Bolivia for Projeto Perfil" (2013), in Brazil supporting artists with their art work (2014), "Watch Your Waste" initiative in Thailand (2015), promoting recycling and cinema in schools, and the production of "Better Days" (2017) in India, a six-episode series featured on platforms like Better India, Times Now, and Facebook, amassing over 500+k views.
Strenghtening their focus in 2017, the duo concentrated on ethnographic projects across Latin America, spotlighting alternative lifestyles rooted in ancestral wisdom. They immersed themselves in the lives of various indigenous communities in Brazil, including the Guarani, Yawalapiti, Xavante, Kuikuro, Karajá, and most recently, the Huni Kui people. Their crowning achievement is the completion of their inaugural feature, a seven-year endeavor titled "Eskawata Kayawai," chronicling the cultural journey of the Huni Kuin.
They are in 2024 working in their second feature, co-produced Brazil/Peru, about the Q'ero Nation.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

KEY INFO
Experience a 70+ minute documentary depicting the resurgence of the Huni Kuin's indigenous culture and spiritual practices through their engagement with the forest medicines.
Spanning 7 years, this project takes viewers to the Huni Kuin Village Novo Futuro in the heart of the Amazon. The film captures the revival of their culture and spirituality trough ceremonies, rituals, cultural customs, music, and interviews with various community leaders representing different demographics, offering insights into their lives and experiences with their tradition.
Directed by Lara Jacoski and Patrick Belem, the film is produced by Bem-te-vi Productions in collaboration with figures like Ninawa Pai da Mata (Spiritual leader of Novo Futuro Village) and Marcos Vinicius Romão (Co-Organizer of the Festival Eskawatã Kayawai). Co-produced by Joakim Hauge from Norway, with Executive Production involvement from Oona Chaplin and Alex Moreno from the US, alongside Torstein Grude from Norway.

DIRECTOR'S COMMENTS ABOUT THE FILM
"This film encapsulates the essence of a specific region while echoing the broader reality of Brazil's indigenous communities. The Huni Kuin have faced profound challenges since the arrival of colonizers, enduring restrictions on their traditional lifestyle, language, and sustenance.
Having weathered years of cultural suppression and subjugation, the Huni Kuin experienced a spiritual awakening, reconnecting with their heritage and reclaiming their cultural identity. This resurgence marked a transformative shift, propelling them into an era defined by indigenous rights and cultural renaissance. Today, they embody a harmonious existence with nature, sharing their ancestral wisdom—a worldview rooted in nature and ancestors—which not only fosters personal healing but also extends its healing influence to the wider world.
Through this film, we aim to convey a message of hope and illumination, showcasing the remarkable journey of a community that, within two decades of dedicated effort, rediscovered its core values and found its center. It serves as a beacon, not only for other indigenous communities reclaiming their lands but also as a universal call for society to reconnect with its own roots and values, fostering harmony within ourselves, our shared humanity, and the planet."

DIRECTOR'S COMMENTS ABOUT THE APPROACH
A 7 years study and life experience, which portrays the cultural rescue of a native land and culture through a narrative by their own people. We interviewed about 30 indigenous, portraying the reality of the cultural revival of their people. In between the narrative, we explore the rich imagery from the forest and the culture. We are taken by the villagers to the cacophony of the forest, the beauty and the simplicity of everyday life, the enchantments of the natural medicines and the work to rediscover ourselves in communion with nature.
The approach of the directors is to focus their work into true interactions, bringing their projects to the next level with a sense of intimacy that is captured beyond words. Much time was dedicated to cohabiting with the Indigenous community, engaging in shared activities like singing together, exchanging songs, and embracing the essence of life in its purest form before any recordings were made. The audience can feel the film beyond comprehension and technique, touching reality beautifully and sensitively, but powerfully.
Such a powerful return home is an example for the world, especially in the critical moment in which we live, proving that it is possible to rescue ancestral values, living in harmony with ourselves and the planet.