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In 2012, James Cavello, Producer and Margarite Almeida, Executive Producer, launched their award-winning documentary film, Amazon Gold, (produced with Sarah DuPont, directed by Reuben Aaronson), which traveled to film festivals worldwide. Amazon Gold won 13 awards, including a Humanitarian award at Hawai’i International Film Festival in 2012. 

In 2018, River of Gold documentary film launched as a revised version of the original film with added footage representing five years of scientific updates and highlights of the ongoing issues in the Amazon rainforest. River of Gold won in the documentary film category at ARPA Int’l Film Festival in Los Angeles, November 2018.  River of Gold is available for streaming on: 

AmazonApple TV, iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft, and Vudu.

River of Gold Trailer


Narrated by Academy Award winners, Sissy Spacek and Herbie Hancock, River of Gold is the disturbing account of a clandestine journey that bears witness to the apocalyptic destruction of the rainforest in the pursuit of illegally mined gold. This film documents a devastation that will result in consequences on a global scale.

The film follows two journalists, Ron Haviv, photographer, and Donovan Webster, writer, who each spent decades covering human rights issues in war-torn regions of the world. In the film, Haviv and Webster are on a journey to view never-before seen illegal gold mining operations deep in the Peruvian rainforest. They are accompanied by Peruvian environmental activitist and biologist, Enrique Ortiz, who is uniquely qualified to point out the savage destruction of once pristine rainforest. Their journey takes them through several regions where illegal mining operations exist on river barges along the Madre de Dios River and further destinations. The team travels through Puerto Maldonado to prepare for a more harrowing clandestine trip into unknown territory. Each step along the way the Amazon rainforest reveals its valuable biodiversity, including exotic birds, thousand year old trees, land animals, water animals, insects, and an incredibly ongoing a new species is discovered every three days by scientists on the ground. 

As man destroys the land in search of gold using toxic mercury to uncover the gold, trees over one thousand years old are toppled and the Amazon’s extraordinary gift of life, through species of plants, animals, insects, both known and unknown are part of an ongoing destruction and annihilation. Mercury poisoning in fish, animals and people are a by-product of the illegal mining practices. 

The film integrates creativity and art to examine a serious subject. Artists contributed their vision to tell the story, such as a watercolor drawings to create an animated Agouti, a squirrel-like creature who lives in the Amazon and populates Brazil nut tree. The Agouti is the only species capable to crack open the hard Brazil nut, bury the nuts for later, and then the forgotten nuts sprout to repopulate the apex forest tree. 

River of Gold reaffirms the right of the Amazon rainforest to exist as a repository of priceless biodiversity and not as the toxic remain’s of man’s greed for gold.  

Cover art by Bryan el Castillo.


"Most Critical Message" Merit Award at the International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula, Montana, May 5-12, 2012

"Best Animation" Merit Award at the International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula, Montana, May 5-12, 2012

"Honorable Mention" at Commffest, Toronto, Canada, September 21, 2012

"Humanitarian Award" at the Hawaii International Film Festival, October 15, 2012

Winner, Short Film Category at SXSW Films for the Forest, Austin, Texas, March 8-16, 2013

"Honorable Mention" at the International Film Festival for Environment, Health and Culture, Jakarta, Indonesia, May 5-12, 2013

Nominee, "Best Conservation Program" at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, Jackson, Wyoming, September 26, 2013

"Green Film Network Award" at FIFE Ile de France: Paris, France, February 5, 2014

Directed by
Reuben Aaronson

Writing Credits

Reuben Aaronson
James Cavello
Sarah DuPont 

Esteban Arguello
Jenny Maxwell
Heather Mytelka

Music by
Anthony Marinelli

Cinematography by
Herve Cohen

Sarah DuPont 


Herbie Hancock ... Narrator
Sissy Spacek ... Narrator
Ron Haviv ... Self
Thomas E. Lovejoy ... Self
Enrique Ortiz ... Self
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal ... Self
Donovan Webster ... Self
Victor Zambrano ... Self


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