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Bruce Parry

Discussing the Kayapo cause

Bruce talks with Banhire about the time he travelled outside his group and met other indigenous groups

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Marina De Brito

Life on the shoot

Posted from: Jacare
Of all the travel shoots I have been on this has been one of the most fun. It could be Matt's calm, patience and gentle direction, or Keith's super agreeable mood and hilarious jokes, or maybe it's Zubin's mischievous streak, or Bruce's capacity to get us all discussing our deepest thoughts on how to reorganise society or Dudu's endless tongue-in-cheek stories about how he always catches the biggest fish or handled cayman with his bare hands (he has all the scars to prove it, but do we believe him?).

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Marina De Brito

A Tough Kitten

Posted from: Jacare
We all loved the second community we visited, but Bruce became attached to one particular member of the community - a small black kitten. This was no ordinary kitten, it was the hardiest and toughest kitten we had ever seen.

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Bruce Parry

Happy Birthday Bruce

Bruce begins birthday celebrations...

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Marina De Brito

Padre Volnei

Posted from: São Raimundo do Jarauá in the Sustainable Development Reserve, Mamirauá.
Catholic Padre Volnei announced his arrival at Sao Raimundo de Jaraua by loudly hooting his horn on board his little boat. He was greeted by his many followers in the community and by us too - who were eagerly waiting for him as he had promised to bring us more cigarettes from town. There are no shops here and he became our only hope!

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Marina De Brito

Fish Stock

Posted from: Sao Raimundo do Jaraua in the Sustainable Development Reserve, Mamiraua.
We have been here for three days now. This is a small community of about 20 wooden houses on the banks of a river channel called Jarauá. The channel comes off the main river Japurá, and Japurá feeds the Amazon river itself about 36 kilometres downriver from here.

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Keith Schofield

Floating through Ages

Posted from: Jarauara Community - Rio Japura.
The Priest was right. He's a Catholic and entitled to be I suppose. The Catholic faith is massively on the resurgence here. Maybe they all believe his theories on mosquitoes. Not a part of my body is munch-free.

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Keith Schofield

The Perfect Shoot?

Posted from: Alvaraes - Rio Japura
Can’t wait to get off this river taxi - and its lesson on one of the dark sides of my favourite place. I wonder what became of those three hopeless horrified men in their chains. Fifteen years in some rank jail ahead. Still musing, I visited the wheelhouse and we promptly crashed into a floating village. The sound of splintering wood and groaning corrugated iron.

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Matt Norman

Goodbye to the Amazon

Posted from: Manaus
Am back in Manaus with Laura, Rob and Dudu and it's been quite an adventure. We have left Bruce back in Tabatinga and crossed flights with the other crew in the air so didn't get chance to say 'Hi' and wish them luck.

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Matt Norman

Night in the logging camp

Posted from: Atalaia
The first night at the logging camp. Around the hut it’s a mudbath due to heavy rains and now it’s stopped the mozzies are out in force. Bruce has moved well away from the hut to string up his hammock and the rest of us, about 15 in all, are packed under the shelter.

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Bruce Parry


Bruce arrives at the loggers’ camp

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Rob Sullivan

A Morning with Missionaries

Posted from: Vida Nova
We've just had a very civilised breakfast with a missionary couple in their beautiful home in the village of Vida Nova, a tiny village deep in the heart of Vale do Javari. Paul and Cheryl Rich are an American couple in their sixties who have lived among the Marubo people for almost 30 years. They have created a little patch of heaven in the endless forest, complete with rainwater-harvesting system, solar energy, email via satellite and home-made jam. Sitting in their backyard overlooking their vegetable patch and herb garden you could easily be mistaken in thinking you were somewhere in Midwest America.

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Rob Sullivan

Dropping Like Flies

Posted from: Parana
The extreme environment of the Amazon is taking a heavy toll on the crew. Yesterday our highly talented cameraman Matt Norman tested positive for malaria and had to be evacuated to the nearest town for medical help. Luckily we are just an hour’s boat ride from a remote missionary air strip and we managed to call a plane in very quickly. He is now the fourth person to leave this shoot.

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Ready for action

  • Pete
  • 19 Feb 08, 01:59 PM

The crew are painted as Marubo warriors

Matt Norman

A Time to Dance

The crew join in a dance in the Marubo longhouse

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Bruce Parry

Breakfast with the Marubo

Bruce enjoys another meal in the longhouse

Matt Norman

Scorching Hot Wax

Posted from: Parana
As I'm writing this I've just broken into a secret stash of dry roasted peanuts that have been traveling in a camera box since Peru. Sat joining me for this mini-feast are three little wide-eyed Marubo kids who are loving this treat as much as I am.

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Matt Norman

The Beating of the Sacred Drum

Posted from: Parana
Day two of the tickling ceremony and excitement was growing as we followed the group of men down to the riverbank. Bruce was right in among them as they climbed into a canoe. There were already too many people in it but we really wanted this sequence so Pete and I crammed ourselves in and kept filming.

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Bruce Parry

The never-ending lunch

Bruce enjoys plentiful food with the Marubo

Bruce Parry

Bruce pays the price

The after effects of the ant sting

Rob Sullivan

The Sting of the Tucandeira Ant

Posted from: Parana
The tucandeira ant ceremony is an ancient ritual designed to test the strength of the young warriors of the tribe. The Marubo believe that enduring the searing pain of the ant sting makes you a stronger person and a better warrior.

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Matt Norman

Becoming Marubo

Posted from: Parana
The heat was sweltering and an excitement was building around the village as the men and women had separated into two groups and from a distance were making eyes at one another. The groups were about 100 metres apart with the men standing proudly in a line and the women up a slope huddled together and giggling and pointing at the men. Bruce was stood in the middle of the line of men wearing matching white beads and body paint. Pete and I were filming some shots among the women and they were quite flirty and funny.

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Matt Norman

Ant attacks

Posted from: Parana
It's very humid already today and spent this morning with a group of villagers on the trail in the search of tucandeira ants. These are to be used in a ceremony later today when the men of the village go through a painful ritual. The ants are also nicknamed ‘bullet’ ants because of their painful sting. The braver the warrior, the more stings he will endure, in the more sensitive body places. Bruce has been invited to take part so about 20 of us are walking in a line through the jungle on this most unusual of hunts. It’s a real family event with elders, women and kids joining the group.

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Matt Norman

The Bug Game

Posted from: Parana
The Marubo village stands high up on a bank overlooking the river and it’s from there that I’m shooting a time-lapse shot of a stunning sunset expanding over the bend in the river and the jungle beyond.

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Bruce Parry

Mornings with the Matis

Bruce spends the morning with Tumi's family. Tumi's daughter and grand-daughter, featured in the video, are both ill.

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Matt Norman

High Shots

Matt sets up the jib - but isn't quite prepared for the audience

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Bruce Parry

Parry's tactics

Bruce enjoys some female company

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Bruce Parry

A Time for Tribe

Bruce and the Matis chief Txema plan a viewing of the Tribe programme about the Matis

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Bruce Parry

Meet the Marmoset

Bruce makes a new furry friend


Lessons in filming

  • Pete
  • 9 Feb 08, 11:01 AM

Bruce shows off the team's kit to a fascinated audience

Rob Sullivan

A Historical Moment from Mid-air...

Posted from: Tabatinga*

Today has been one of the most extraordinary days of my whole life. We took a flight over Vale do Javari, a vast reserve set up to protect the territory of the indigenous tribes of this area. It's one of the world's last remaining true tracts of wilderness, and conjures up everything you imagine when you think of the Amazon: a vast sea of green stretched out beneath us, with occasional tiny settlements dotted throughout the landscape. It's home to the highest concentration of uncontacted groups in the world - with a known population of just under 4,000 people occupying an area the size of Portugal.

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Leticia Valverdes

A Blessing and a Curse

Posted from: Benjamin Constant
Being one of the two bilingual people on a shoot is hard. You are the one who has to be constantly aware of what's going on, in both camps, and non-stop translating what's necessary to make things work. You have to know a bit of both sides culturally, and even emotionally.

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Leticia Valverdes

The pace of the Amazon

Posted from: Benjamin Constant
In the Amazon I feel very English at times. Saturday is the first carnival night. They said 8pm and there we were - fed, cleaned and waiting for carnival to “happen” - whatever is to happen, we just want it to happen in time. Ah…the pace of the Amazon really tests our nerves. Even I, who has been to this place so often and knows that in Brazil things run to a different rhythm, get irritated.

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Leticia Valverdes

"Brasil does not know Brasil"

Posted from:Tabatinga
Today we are leaving Tabatinga to go to the little town of Benjamin Constant where we will experience a carnival. It will be a new experience for us, perhaps even for myself as a Brazilian; carnival takes many different forms in the different parts of the country. It originates from the same paganism and catholic traditions but manifests itself in various ways: from the samba schools of Rio and Sao Paulo, to the samba reggae of Bahia and Frevo, Maracatu, and Caboclinho of Pernambucao. They’re all an amalgamation of rhythms and traditions and are also influenced by indigenous Brazilian and African culture.

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Bruce Parry

Mother Ayahuasca versus Bruce Parry

Posted from: Iquitos
My ayahuasca experience last night was one of the more humbling nights of my life. Remarkably, it seems, my ego decided to take on Mother Ayahuasca in some sort of a battle. Horrified, I watched the whole thing from the sidelines, feeling very annoyed with my ego for putting up such a relentless attack.

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Bruce Parry

Pete settles in

Pete settles in while Bruce takes the best seat on the boat

Bruce Parry

Farewell to Wijint

The team bid farewell to the nuns of Wijint

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Steve Robinson

Things Get Better

Posted from: Wjint
We are making progress. Bruce is living in a house, not with Saris, but with an inscrutable hunter called Mantu and his family, Saris (Silas Marner) had second thoughts after his daughters told him they were scared of Bruce and didn't want him there. Poor guy, he looked dreadfully embarrassed.

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Bruce Parry

To catch a fish

Watch Bruce preparing for a fishing trip with the Achuar people and attempting to spear a fish for his dinner.

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Contact Impossible

Posted from: Wijint
We are here in Wijint and contacting the office is really difficult so we'll have to send all our website content when we're back in San seems impossible to send things with the transmission kit here - it takes 45 minutes for one file, which is just impossible when we're running it from a generator.

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Steve Robinson

A Welcome from Warriors

Posted from: Wijint
Well, we got here at last, but haven't had the smoothest of rides so far. The Achuar seem pretty underwhelmed to see us and so far we're having some trouble working out how to make this film.

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Bruce Parry

House hunting

Bruce looks for a house, and finds a hunter

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Bruce Parry

Back to school

Bruce admires the work of the local schoolchildren

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Steve Robinson

Film one nearly done

Posted from: Ashaninka Village near Catunga.
Thank God. It feels like we've arrived somewhere safe at last. We're in a tiny Ashaninka village four hours downriver and it is quite beautiful.

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Bruce Parry

Party Problems

Posted from: Catunga.
We're having to leave the Ashaninka at this village in Catunga because there's a big celebration going on in the village, which means a lot of outsiders are present. These outsiders don't want the Ashaninka showing us areas of land over which there is conflict, and they've said that if they do there'll be trouble, so obviously we have to leave as the last thing we want is to endanger our hosts.

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Steve Robinson

Amazon United F.C.

Posted from: Catunga.
Catunga is a weird place. Two years ago a local logger built a road through the forest and roads change things quickly around here. In return for the right to log the forest around Catunga, he built them wooden houses, probably made out of their own wood.

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Steve Robinson

An Unannounced Arrival

Posted from: Catunga.
This is one of the most dangerous places we’ll visit on this journey, a place entirely beyond the rule of law but if we are to follow the course of the Amazon River, from source to sea, then we have to come this way. We stood on the beach with our pile of boxes and giggled nervously.

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Steve Robinson

The Ashaninka in the Red Zone

Posted from: Catunga.
We’ve had a very strange day, even by our very high standards. We’re in a small settlement called Catungo, in the Apurimac Valley in Peru. We’re in what is known as the RED ZONE, a place deemed so dangerous and difficult that the local law enforcement agencies have given up on it.

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Steve Robinson

Blowing up the Bossa

Posted from: Palma Pampa.
We had a great day today, out with the drug police blowing up coca labs. We should have got a really exciting sequence for the film.

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Bruce Parry

Coca debates

Bruce has a tricky time harvesting coca leaves with Antonio’s family.

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Matt Norman

Mealtime and a Machete

Posted from: San Francisco area.
Almu has gone down with dehydration or a tummy bug and is lying on the floor in the dirt next to the tripod. We are looking a sorry sort of bunch in contrast to the young coca-collecting kids, who carry on in the stifling heat without one complaint.

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Matt Norman

Coca Harvest

Posted from: San Francisco area.
We arrived back at the hacienda and I’m now feeling nauseous and dizzy. I take some re-hydration salts as I’m probably suffering from dehydration and crash in my tent. I’m sick most of the night and having not slept I’m still dressed when we leave at 4am in order to travel and film Bruce waking up with the family back at Antonio’s hut.

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Bruce Parry

The Shining Path

Posted from: Louisiana.
Our journey down here to Louisiana was interesting because there was a load of strikes going on in the area. One was the cocalero strike, which was a strike held by the coca growers because they feel they are unfairly treated and yesterday there was a trade union strike from all the workers of the area.

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Matt Norman

U Can’t Touch This

Posted from: Louisiana
Luis, our multitalented fixer-translator-local producer, has pre-warned us that we should do our utmost to arrive at our destination before dark. This is because the region we are heading for is the primary cocaine producing area of Peru and is pretty much lawless.

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Matt Norman

Journey to the other San Francisco

Posted from: En route to San Francisco
We leave early to hopefully avoid the roadblocks of the strike in a strict three-car convoy and within minutes each vehicle has been separated from the others. Today will be another long day with a 14-hour drive ahead of us. With no sign of barricades we escape the city for another day of careering around hairpin bends with epic drops.

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Bruce Parry

Man Overboard!

Posted from:Machu Puente
Today started rather inauspiciously as I jumped into my canoe at the place where I left it last night and capsized after about half a minute on the water! I hadn't put my back-rest in properly, which was a little embarrassing, particularly because my confidence in the water had been so high yesterday, but I guess it's important to get a reminder that I'm not unsinkable!

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Matt Brandon

A technical perspective

Posted from:Angostura
The altitude has been a shock but the source of the Amazon was amazing - water just spewing out of this wall. The mountains are covered with snow and the landscape here is totally epic. It's been really, really tough and it's very cold, so technical things like keeping batteries charged is a problem.

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Bruce Parry

Sacrifice and blessing

Posted from:: Journey to Angostura
The last couple of days we've been staying with Rodolfo and his family in their ridge-top estancia near the source of the Amazon. Rodolfo is a strong, paternal figure and for me he epitomises the mixture of pride, kindness and toughness that is characteristic of the Quechua. His daughter is away at university, which takes a huge chunk of the family income, but the whole village is proud of her.

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Ten llamas and a Donkey

Posted from: On the way to Angostura.
We have just started the trek from the source to Angostura with the llamas. It's a two-day walk, we have 10 llamas and a donkey, and it's been raining - a lot. Right now it's snowing, and it's miserable but the filming has gone really well because it's so beautiful here, and the footage will show this incredible place. We filmed the opening at the source rather than the glacier. It's just a trickle of water on the rock face and I still can't believe how this becomes such a huge sea of water.

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Matt Norman

Llama herders and Real Madrid

Posted from:On the journey to Angostura
We first met our family of llama herders in the dark. Three nights ago we approached a tiny encampment and there, standing in the gloomy light, were the shadows of the family of llama herders that we've spent the last few days with. They greeted us warmly, gave Bruce presents and invited us into their very cosy stone house.

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Matt Brandon

Mutiny on the Mismi

Posted from:Base camp Mismi
David - our guide and translator for this section - took the opportunity to make an emotional offering to the mountain at the source and invited us all to join in. All of us found it equally moving and we each took three coca leaves and prayed to the Apus before making a request and then placing the leaves into the first waters of the Amazon.

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Matt Brandon

The Big Opening

Posted from:The Source
Last time I blogged Almu and I were on our way to an Alpaca Shaving competition. The competition was in the beautiful and very rundown town of Ran Ran. Many people were dressed in traditional Andean outfits, and there were obviously a lot of alpacas around. The shaving competition was saved until the end of the day, and despite chewing lots of coca to combat the altitude we both felt less than good. Almu was soon dressed in traditional clothes and, not wanting me to be left out, someone soon found a spare poncho and hat for me to put on.

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