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Jackson Hole Film Festival finalist Q&A: “Yasuni Man”

12 / 09 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

The 2017 finalists for the biannual Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival competition have been announced. Drawn from a pool of over 1,000 entries competing for only 25 awards, finalists include a diverse range of entries. One of those finalists is “Yasuni Man,” made by Pollywog Productions. The film tells the story of the Waorani, hunter-gatherers who live deep in the biodiverse Yasuni nature reserve of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The inhabitants have faced waves of wealth- and soul-seekers from among the loggers, oil prospectors, and missionaries who have come and gone from the region for hundreds of years. Today, Yasuni is home to a conflict that has pitted oil and commercialization against biodiversity and human rights. The film plays into an  increasingly popular notion that indigenous peoples are known to be master conservationists. The people in these communities tend to possess a wealth of knowledge about their environment that’s been passed down through the generations. Mongabay questions for filmmaker Ryan Patrick Killackey: Tell us a bit about your background and your need to make this film. Killackey: I have a degree in wildlife biology from the University of Montana. For nearly a decade I worked on research projects focusing on conservation and population dynamics. I mainly worked with reptiles and amphibians, snails and slugs, wolverines, fisher, bobcats and Alaskan brown bears. I moved to the Ecuadorian Amazon in 2005 to learn more about frog diversity. It was then that I first went into Yasuni and learned about the conflict that has pitted biodiversity…

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