Yasuni Man a Ryan Killackey film
Located in eastern Ecuador, Yasuni National Park is world-renowned for its rich diversity of species, which may be the greatest on the planet.
“It’s the only place known to have world records for sheer numbers of mammals, birds, amphibians and plants. One acre of Yasuni has more species of trees than all of North America,” Killackey says
But Yasuni is not just notable for its stunning biodiversity, but its people. Home to three indigenous tribes, including uncontacted peoples, Killackey’s film will focus on the Waorani people who have a long history of battling oil companies, at times violently.
“The Waorani are my subjects because they’re an ancient culture caught in the middle of this modern conflict, and I’ve had personal contact with them for five years now. They’re also amazingly personable and affectionate people. There are some hugely entertaining personalities among the people living in community, and they’re trying to remain positive while facing this historic, even existential, challenge,” Killackey says.
However, much like Yasuni itself, Killackey’s film is facing obstacles, in this case: funding.
“Yasuni is one of the most treacherous and isolated places anywhere on the planet, which makes it expensive to access. We need specialized equipment that can survive the downpours and the mud and the elements. To give the audience the experience of being in this place, we’ll be using really fun toys like tiny HD cameras that fit on a spear-tip. So we’re racing to raise an additional $40,000 by October 9th, so I can assemble the gear and the crew and get down there to shoot the first sequence. This is a documentary, so it’s real life. The story’s unfolding as we speak,” Killackey says.
Killackey spoke to mongabay.com in October about his travels in Yasuni National Park, the threats to this unique place, his unfinished film, and the scene he thinks viewers won’t soon forget.