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Helena de Sarayaku
[ Helena from Sarayaku ] 

1hr 10m I In competition I Spanish (English subtitles)

Directed by Eriberto Gualinga

Helena is a 17-year-old student in Finland. Her father is Swedish, and her mother is originally from the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, who live in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. On a recent trip there, Helena participates in the traditional Uyantza Raymi cultural festival, and meets with Kichwa leaders who ask her to deliver a message to the world: Kawsak Sacha, or ‘Living Forest,’ an innovative concept in conservation, in which the jungle is considered to be a living being. After Covid-19 confines Helena in Puyo—the closest city to Sarayaku—she learns that eighty percent of her community has been infected with the virus, and that the Bobonaza River has flooded part of her village. She is Helena from Sarayaku, and this is her story.

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153 E. Main Street, Fort Lee, NJ


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Eriberto Gualinga

Eriberto Gualinga is a member of the Kichwa community of the Sarayaku, in the Ecuadorian Amazon. He has a degree in Film from the University of the Arts of Guayaquil. He is a photographer, musician, and activist who began making films in his twenties. At that time he started to document and tell the story of the defense of the jungle, following the incursion of a state-backed oil company and the military into his territory. He has directed six documentary shorts, which have won multiple awards at festivals. Helena From Sarayaku is his first feature.

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