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River of Gold

In 2012, James and Margarite launched their documentary film, Amazon Gold, (produced with Sarah DuPont), which traveled film festivals worldwide. The film won 13 awards, including a Humanitarian award at Hawaii International Film Festival in 2012. 


In 2018, River of Gold film launched as a revised version of the original film with added footage representing four 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.  The film is distributed to schools and in theatre screenings worldwide. 

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.

Ron Haviv and Donovan Webster, two journalists who normally cover war and human rights issues travelled along Peru's Madre de Dios River to reveal the savage destruction of once pristine rainforest. The men were guided by Peruvian environmental activist and biologist, Enrique Ortiz, uniquely qualified to point out the heedless exploitation of the land for minor gain. Director Reuben Aaronson discussed with the local miners, eager to scrape together enough money to start a business or feed their family, not realizing the consequences to their health and homeland. Due to heedless actions, vulnerable trees, some over one thousand years old, as well as countless species of plants, animals and insects, both known and unknown, fall victim to the annihilation. The valuable Amazon rainforest is not only being stripped of life, but also forever poisoned with mercury, a by-product of the illegal mining practices.

The film integrates artwork and animation to explain the situation: an animated Agouti springs to life to tell the story of his ecosystem, as the only species to crack open the Brazil nut to repopulate the apex forest tree.

Left in the wake of almost surreal images of once extraordinary beauty turned into hellish wasteland, River of Gold reaffirms the right of the rainforest to exist as a repository of priceless biodiversity and not as the toxic remains of man's greed for gold.

Cover art by Bryan el Castillo.

AWARDS

"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