River Silence

A feature documentary coming in 2018
by Rogerio Soares


Take a lyrical journey through the Brazilian Amazon rainforest and meet a civilization being transformed by the forces of industrial development, revealing unforeseen moments of love and resilience.

The area around the Volta Grande — a great meandering loop in the Xingu River, a major tributary of the Amazon — is one of the planet’s most distinct ecosystems. But the area and its inhabitants are now facing man-made Armageddon. The Belo Monte Dam, one of the world’s biggest and most contested hydroelectric projects, due to be operational by 2019, has displaced more than 40 thousand people from their land and is already disrupting the entire regional watershed. Meanwhile, the Canadian-owned company Belo Sun, eager to exploit the dam’s energy and infrastructure, is poised to open Brazil’s biggest open-pit gold mine, an operation requiring massive amounts of cyanide.

Both projects are part of a gargantuan continent-wide plan to construct over 400 dams and mine over 20% of the territory — an extreme example of “disaster development” that will reshape the entire Amazon Basin, displacing hundreds of thousands.

With River Silence, filmmaker Rogerio Soares travels deep into this mythic and brutalized world, meeting some of its most vulnerable and inspiring inhabitants at a crucial moment in their history. Moving between isolated backwater and urban shantytown, he encounters Indigenous people and impoverished settlers, subsistence farmers and fishermen, rodeo riders, rubber-tappers, small-time gold prospectors and members of Brazil’s huge urban underclass.