This August, the Amazon Aid Foundation, in association with the Americas Business Council Foundation, touched down in Lima, Peru for the South American premiere of Amazon Gold at the Lima International Film Festival. For the first time, audiences viewed the documentary in the country where it was filmed, and its impact exceeded everyone’s expectations.

At the premiere screening of Amazon Gold, audience members included jazz musician Herbie Hancock, US ambassador Rose Likins, and producer Sarah DuPont

So many people showed up for the premiere screening at Peru’s Ministry of Culture and National Museum that a second screen had to be set up in another room. In attendance were producer and AAF founder Sarah DuPont, US ambassador to Peru Rose Likins, jazz artist and Ambassador for Peace Herbie Hancock, and prominent members of the government, press and NGO communities of Peru. The screening was followed by a lively Q&A with panelists Enrique Ortiz, the biologist featured in the film, Ernesto Raez, from Peru’s Ministry of the Environment, and mercury researcher Julio Araujo Flores.

For many audience members, the film, narrated in Spanish by actor Andy Garcia, was their first glimpse of the immense environmental devastation happening in the interior of Peru, and the sight left them shocked and outraged. After the screening, they demanded answers– and action– from the government representatives in attendance. The film was shown in several universities and public forums over the course of the week as part of the film festival’s traveling exhibition.  In an article in El Comercio, Peru’s leading daily newspaper, Martha Meier called Amazon Gold a “powerful documentary” full of “images that tremble with the truth they make visible, and show the shocking passivity of the authorities to combat this reality.”

An outdoor screening of Amazon Gold as part of the Lima Film Festival

In the weeks that followed the film’s premiere, we here at Amazon Aid have been overwhelmed by the responses to and interest in the film. “When we premiered Amazon Gold in Lima, I carried in my heart the courageous team who worked under very difficult circumstances to produce this critical film,”  says Sarah DuPont.  “It was all worth it, every second. I am so proud that Amazon Gold is now a catalyst for change, to create awareness and to protect the Amazon and its species and peoples.”

The ensuing outcry from the public and the press has spurred the Peruvian government to take more decisive action than ever against illicit mining- but the battle has only just begun. Stay tuned for more news and updates from our partners on the ground in the Peruvian Amazon!

Thanks to America’s Business Council and the film crew! Photos courtesy of SPDA Actualidad Ambiental