Guyana fantasy feature film 'Maira and the Jaguar People' will raise awareness of rainforest conservation
Michael Gilkes’s new movie to be filmed in the Guyana rainforest is aiming for a global environmental impact.
Maira and the Jaguar People
Mount Roraima, highest in South America, shared with Venezuela and Brazil.
Maira & the Jaguar People (teaser)
The 50-minute drama feature, Maira and the Jaguar People, focuses on the Makushi community in Surama ( in the Rupununi region ) who will provide cultural and historical guidance as well as some of the major actors in the film. This community embraces a unique, healthy and environmentally focused way of life which is being endangered by urban 'entrepreneurs' who wish to exploit the forest's resources of gold, diamonds, timber and oil.
“I want to show how much of our rainforest, luckily, is still pristine and unspoiled,” said Gilkes, playwright, dramatist, actor, professor and filmmaker. “I want the whole world to see and enjoy the beauty and majesty of our virgin rainforests, rivers, waterfalls and mountains and the quiet strength, intelligence and warmth of the Amerindian people who live there. Our planet's rainforests are the lungs of the globe, and their preservation and protection is an urgent global imperative. That's the underlying theme of the film.”
Maira and the Jaguar People is a dramatic dream-fantasy in which Maira, a young girl in the village, becomes fascinated by the flute-like call of a rare bird. Her brother, Mairun, dreams of becoming a great hunter. They embark on an exciting search for the “flute bird.” They lose their way in the forest and (thanks to the Shaman's 'shape-shifting' magic) come upon a terrifying, yet fascinating talking jaguar. The experience shows them the heraldic, almost sacred nature of the Makushi people's respect for the 'lord' of the rainforest, while teaching them a practical lesson about the dangers of going into deep forest without adult support. The entire film is a dream: a tale told to the children by the Shaman.
The budget for this film is $200,000. In addition to the filming, special effects and editing, the movie requires construction of a replica Makushi village from the 1950s and a special canopied outboard motor boat for transporting supplies, equipment, cast and crew to a second, upriver location, a potential Heritage Site.
In order to raise funds for this project, Gilkes has launched an Indiegogo campaign, which can be viewed at the Indiegogo site.
“The impact of this film could be far-reaching, not just for people living in the area but also for a global audience,” explains Gilkes. “Our goal is to open viewers minds to the importance of rainforest conservation as well as to the critical role that indigenous cultures play. They have, as natural conservationists, grown and survived in the rainforests for almost twelve thousand years.”
The Makushi people will also benefit from the replica 1950 structure (built some distance away from the present village). The second location will be upriver in an ancient site, once the scene of a tragic battle between tribes. These structures (and the boat) will remain after the filming is completed and will be adapted and maintained by the Makushi as part of their growing tourism initiative.
For further information about Maira and the Jaguar People, visit the Indiegogo project page (all involved with the project can also be contacted on the Comments page of this same Indiegogo page). You may also contact press representative Marina Taitt directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maira and the Jaguar People
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