UNI Project launched at SXSW and Quilombola Leader Brings Audience to their Feet in Global Event

UNI (you and I), is a project that aims to create a digital environment to connect the  people who live in the Amazon with each other and with the world. The objective is to strengthen forest dwellers by raising their voices and helping them protect the forest. . The first phase of the project was conducted through a partnership between O2 Films - Fernando Meirelles production company, and ECAM (Amazon Conservation Team), under the PTS alliance.

The UNI initiative, together with an innovative documentary on quilombolas, was launched on March 9th during South by Southwest (SXSW), one of the largest film, music and innovation conferences in the world. Claudinete Colé, the first woman to coordinate the Association of Remaining Quilombos Communities of Oriximiná (ARQMO) gave a moving speech, one of the few during the conference that ended with a standing applause from the audience and moved people to tears. She was accompanied in the conference by Rogerio Pereira, another quilombola leader, film  director Fernando Meirelles, film maker André D´Elia and ECAM´s executive-director, Vasco Roosmalen.  

“The Amazon is my home, the Amazon is my life. It is in my blood, it is in my heart. I ask all of you here for union and collaboration, to help us and support our cause, in the benefit of all who live there,” said Colé in her closing remarks. She had already shared some of her own history and the set of challenges she has faced, as a single woman, a leader within a disenfranchised minority that goes largely ignored in Brazil.

Colé was born in Boa Vista, a community of 280 families by the Trombetas river, close to Porto Trombetas - a city founded in the 1970’s to house workers for one of the biggest bauxite mines in the world. Traditionally, those families lived hunting, fishing, collecting and selling Brazil nuts. Two years ago she was elected to ARQMO she dreamed of improving quality of life for quilombolas in the Amazon.

The project is already up and running. In July 2018, O2 and ECAM, in partnership with ARQMO, organized workshops on the use of digital tools   - such as Instagram - in three communities in Pará: Cachoeira da Porteira, Ariramba and Jauary. The communities created their own Instagram pages (@maecachoeira, @quilombo_erepecuru and @quilomboariramba).

An innovative aspect of this particular project is that the documentary isn’t about the communities -- it is designed by them. They have selected the images and the text went through an extensive approval process, so that it brings their own voices to be  shared with the world, telling the message they want to tell, not necessarily what the documentary makers wanted to highlight.

Learn more about UNI.

See some of the Project´s photos

See some of the project´s videos