Series: Kampf um Amazonien

The Internet Indians


A film by Ilka Franzmann
© 2010 / 43 min (German+French) and 52 min (English) / HD / 16:9 / Stereo

“The Internet is our weapon. We gave up fighting with bows and arrows a long time ago,” says Benki Piyako, son of the chief of the Ashaninka in the Brazilian rainforest. “We all need to be interconnected if we want to live in safety on our territory.” The Ashaninka live on the border of Brazil and Peru. Their region is rich in tropical wood and regularly attracts illegal logging gangs. When the Indians confront the logging mafia their villages are attacked and the villagers killed or driven away.

That all started to change a few years ago when a Brazilian NGO began equipping isolated indigenous communities with Internet stations. This enabled the rainforest inhabitants to ask the authorities directly for assistance when they need it. Illegal woodcutters are now apprehended because the military and the police can get to the Indians’ territory very quickly and catch the raw materials pirates red-handed. This gave a significant boost to the fight for the rights of the indigenous population, and the Ashaninka in particular made the headlines, because they are a living example of how to combine Indian traditions with the modern mindset and responsibility for the environment.

Today the chief’s two sons, Benki and Moises Piyako, are working hard to provide more and more Indian communities with the Internet. They also founded an environment school where they teach sustainable farming methods, made their villages self-sufficient again, started with the reforestation and found allies in the organisations that have been springing up in growing numbers in Brazil’s cities since the Rio summit.



Written and directed by Ilka Franzmann
Cinematography: Nikolaus Tarouquella
Editing: Patrick Tucholski
Sound: Paulo Munhoz
Sound mix: Tomas Bastian
Music: Nils Kacirek
Consultant: Nikolaus Tarouquella
Junior Producer: Carolin Neubauer
Line producer: Markus Breimaier
Producer: Thomas Wartmann
Commissioning editor: Ulrike Becker, SWR

A coproduction of Filmquadrat.dok GmbH & Südwestrundfunk
in collaboration with ARTE.

Supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union.


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