Film Screening: Stepping Softly on the Earth
Filmed on location in Peru, Colombia and Brazil, the documentary Stepping Softly on the Earth (2022) provides a vision for a possible future for humanity, with an alternative to destruction that is based on the ancestral life of native populations. The film focuses its narrative on three Indigenous leaders who are survivors of the capitalist war in the Amazon and struggle to keep their ways of being alive and coexisting in the world without destroying it.
The film will be screened in Kaufman 200 on October 30 at 3:00 PM and will be followed by a Q&A with Indigenous leader and philosopher Ailton Krenak and director Marcos Colón. The Q&A will be moderated by Susanna Hecht (Center for Brazilian Studies) and Alex Ungprateeb Flynn (Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance). The event is co-sponsored by the Latin American Institute, American Indian Studies Center, and Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance.
Ailton Krenak, a distinguished Indigenous leader, environmentalist, poet, philosopher, and writer, holds an honorary doctorate from the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora. A pillar of the Brazilian Indigenous movement, Krenak made a significant mark in 1987, painting his face with jenipapo fruit in a profound protest for indigenous rights. He was pivotal in founding the Aliança dos Povos da Floresta, collaborating with prominent figures like David Kopenawa Yanomami and Chico Mendes. With his people, he suffered with the largest environmental crime in the history of Brazil: the rupture of the Fundão dam, of the mining company Samarco/BHP Billiton, of Vale, in Bento Rodrigues, a district of Mariana (MG), in November 2015. As an author, he penned essential works such as Ideas to Postpone the End of the World. Krenak’s profound words inspired the documentary “Stepping Softly on the Earth.” In 2023, he became the first Indigenous person elected to the Academia Brasileira de Letras, Brazil’s most prestigious literary and cultural organization.
Marcos Colón teaches Latin American Studies at Florida State University, holding a Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese Cultural Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2019). He specializes in Brazilian cultural studies, emphasizing depictions of the Amazon in modern Brazilian literature and film. Colón has directed documentaries like Beyond Fordlândia (2018), Zo’é (2021), and Stepping Softly on the Earth (2022). His research critically examines the Amazon’s post-rubber era, challenging conventional tropical representations in literature and culture. He’s also the founder and editor of the digital magazine, Amazonia Latitude.