Indian Country: Montreal First People’s Festival

August 16, 2011

“The Rigoberta Menchu Grand Prize went to Denis Zmekhol for Children of the Amazon, which blended emotion and reason to depict the Surui and Negarote men and women who are fielding the “blind, destructive forces of the market economy,” the festival organizers said.”

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Cine Source Magazine: Child of the Amazon

by Don Schwartz, May 16, 2011

“My narration guides the audience,” Zmekhol responded, when asked about her approach to the film. “But I used the forest people to tell their stories. There’s no politicians, anthropologists, historians, or loggers. I didn’t want to do anything journalistic. I just wanted to let them tell their stories, to give them voice.”

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The Kathmandu Post: Films for change

April 26, 2011

“Denise Zmekhol’s Children of the Amazon was received well by Nepalis when screened at the fifth International Indigenous Film Festival on Sunday.”

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Republica: Call of the Amazon

Dikshya Karki, April 20, 2011

“People often come to me after watching the film and ask me what they can do? I tell them, a big initiative is not required. We can work with the little things in our lives and let nature work in its own course.”

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Read the followup after awards were named

Huffington Post: “Film Review: Children of the Amazon”

by Stewart Nusbaumer, April 21, 2010

“…nothing is simple in this tale of traditional society battered by the modern forces of economy and culture. Children of The Amazon handles this complex story with subtlety and charity. Hope is tempered with realism as the children of 15 years ago become the Amazon tribal leaders of today…”

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Sacred Fire Magazine: “Born into Chaos”

Interview and Review by Sharon Brown, April, 2010

I am haunted by their singing.
Days after viewing Children of the Amazon, I still hear the children’s voices–pure, lifting into joyful refrain. Then, at the end of the melody, the angelic voices slide–trailing off into a minor key and empty silence. Exquisite beauty, followed by a dive into the abyss. Such is the feeling I carry with me from the film, which at its best captures the poignancy of lost innocence, not just for a generation but for all humanity.

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San Francisco Examiner: “Children of the Amazon on PBS during Earth Month”

by Valeria Sasser, April 13, 2010

“After fifteen years since she first photographed the children in the tribes Surui and Negarote in the heart of Amazon, [Denise Zmekhol] decided to return to check how life has been to those people: she was shocked to find a whole different world, with a 2000-mile highway, cattle farmers, loggers, and the modification men bring, not always for good… Zmekhol filmed her experience, and she shares it with her beautiful Children of Amazon…”

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Cine Source Magazine: “The Amazon Goes Digital”

by D. Blair, April 3, 2010

“Denise Zmekhol, a photographer and now filmmaker out of Berkeley, takes us back to the Amazon where she photographed indigenous children and activists like Chico Mendes, of the rubber tappers union, who was brutally murdered shortly after her photo of him was taken 15 years ago… ”

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Cine Source Magazine: “CS Selects: Children of the Amazon”

March 10, 2010

“…a stunning documentary on the environmental and emotional decimation exacted upon the Surui and Negarote tribes of the Amazon rainforest as a result of logging and highway development. What makes the film powerful is the touchingly gentle presentation of layers of tormented history in the Amazon, which encircles the viewer in gorgeously shot, intimate depictions of people and the still-strong natural abundance. Using sobering fixed-camera shots, the director presents the grown children who lived through the many plagues of illness, cultural disruption and even murder. Beyond moving, the gravity of Zmekhol’s film will necessarily give pause to it’s viewers as it plainly reveals the vicissitudes accompanying the rise of industrial development. ”

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Journal of Latin American Geography: “Children of the Amazon (review)”

by Stephen Aldrich, January/February, 2010

“ is surprising how few serious films released in the United States focus on this important region. Many of the films available tend to be little more than travel logs, historical exposes (focusing on the exploits of the Ford Motor Company or Theodore Roosevelt), or sensationalist accounts of “deadly” wildlife or strange creatures native to the Basin. Children of the Amazon is a far cry from these cable “edutainment” channel staples, which is immediately refreshing… Zmekhol uses her wonderful photographs, video footage from the early 1990s, and interviews with the young people she photographed as children to show how life for the Surui people has changed visibly in 15 years…”

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The Indie: “Children of the Amazon”

by Alex A. Kecskes, February 1, 2010

“Sao Paulo-born filmmaker and photographer Denise Zmekhol can capture the soul of a subject and bring it to life with compelling, palpable emotions. Her recent documentary, Children of the Amazon, underscores her talent and unique voice as an auteur with a gift…”

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Peace Review, A Journal of Social Justice: “Recommended Books and Films”

by Andrea E. Smith, April 2009

“Glowing images of Surui and Negarote children in their forest home provide a poignant reminder of how much they and their forest world have changed in the fifteen years between Zmekhol’s first visits to the Amazon in 1988–1990, when she originally photographed the children of the forest, and her return trip in 2002, when she finds the Suruı lands almost devoid of trees and the children, now young men and women, facing life in a very different and much less hospitable world….”

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Variety: “Children of the Amazon”

by Dennis Harvey, October 30, 2008

“Packing a lot of human interest as well as historical and informational content into 72 minutes, the handsomely shot doc somehow never feels rushed, in part due to the personal affection Zmekhol evinces for her tribal subjects. (And for Mendes, a close friend who asked her to photograph his funeral when rising threats made his imminent death seem inevitable) …”

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SF Weekly: “Indiewood North”

by Michael Fox, September 27, 2008

“Everybody talks about the destruction of the rainforest, but East Bay-by-way-of-Brazil filmmaker Denise Zmekhol returned after 15 years to document the changes in the heart-stopping Children of the Amazon…”

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At The Movies: “The 31st Mill Valley Film Festival”

September 26, 2008

“This politically charged documentary examines the cultural and environmental impact from the “development” and native tribes’ struggle on preservation of their culture and living hood…”

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Pacific Sun: “The reel world: Curtains rise on the 31st Mill Valley Film Festival”

by Mal Karman, September 26, 2008

“If you recall director Michael Apted’s 7 Up series, in which he interviewed the same group of British subjects every seven years beginning in 1964, you will be moved by Berkeley filmmaker Denise Zmekhol’s Children of the Amazon…”

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