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Wed, Aug 30


New Haven

Film Screening Fundraiser: Eskawata Kayawai

Film screening and Q&A with director, on the cultural and spiritual renaissance of the Huni Kuin people through nixi pae (ayahuasca)

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Film Screening Fundraiser: Eskawata Kayawai
Film Screening Fundraiser: Eskawata Kayawai

Time & Location

Aug 30, 2023, 6:00 p.m. – Aug 31, 2023, 9:00 p.m.

New Haven, 869 Whalley Ave, New Haven, CT 06515, USA

About the event

Get your tickets Here.

Come experience the forest and its mystery through this unreleased documentary and 6 years project. An evening produced by Bem-te-vi Produçoes in collaboration with IRI - Indigenous Reciprocity Initiative and West Rock Wellness.

 Eskawata Kayawai - The Spirit of Transformation tells the story of the cultural and spiritual renaissance of the Huni Kuin people from the Brazilian Amazon forest through their cultural practice of nixi pae (ayahuasca). 

The film’s director Lara Jacoski, will be present to share her backstage insights and stories woven with pictures and anecdotes of her relationship with the guardians of the forest built over six years of the film's production and the transformation they brought to her personal life.

As a mediator we will have Joseph Mays - Program Director of Chacruna’s Indigenous Reciprocity Initiative (IRI), a grassroots network of Indigenous community organizations fighting for land, water, food, medicine and culture conducting collaborative research and building connections with Indigenous communities throughout the Americas.

This is the only chance to watch the movie which will remain unpublished as we continue looking for distribution partners and festival screenings. Such a film has never been done before with the Huni Kuin allowing their lives to be recorded in such a way, making this a unique opportunity to witness their wisdom and traditions.

The doors open at 6pm and there will be a display of indigenous art. The screening will begin at 6:30pm with an introduction of Joseph Mays together with the director's storytelling behind the scenes, after the movie we will have a Q&A.

This is a fundraising event to finance our next project "Living Libraries", a docu-series to document ancient knowledge from First Nations of Latin America in order to safeguard endangered wisdom for the next generations and humanity as a whole, focusing on elders and their knowledge of sacred plants and rituals.

Eskawata Kayawai - The Spirit of Transformation is a message of hope, an example for the world, a powerful return home illustrating the possibility of rescuing ancestral values and living in harmony with ourselves and the planet. It is a valuable lesson in our current need for cultural preservation and sustainability, and re-connecting to our true nature. A breath of hope for all of us living in this post-pandemic era.

Get to know more about the film at its website or instagram.

Also learn here about all first nation projects from Bem-te-vi Cultural Productions.


Synopsis: In the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, the self-claimed Huni Kuin (meaning true people) are experiencing a renaissance of their culture, after decades of slavery and being forbidden to live their identity. It was only in the year 2000 they started to remember who they really are through communing with their sacred medicine nixi pae (ayahuasca) within their community. Their identity has since returned after more than the 20 years of prayers and cultural strengthening undertaken by the spiritual leader Ninawá Pai da Mata and his village Novo Futuro, and the communities along the Humaitá River. Through this film, we are guided by the villagers through the enchanting cacophony of the forest, understanding the significance of culture and identity to the Huni Kuin people.

Speaker: Lara Jacoski is a documentarist, co-director of Bem-te-vi Produções together with Patrick Belem since 2012, a Brazilian independent film production company making collaborations across 5 continents. Lara has deepened her work in ethnographic projects focused to register culture referring to ancestral knowledge. For the past years she has focused to learn and work with the first nations in Brazil such as Guarani, Yawalapiti, Xavante, Kuikuro, Karajá and Huni Kui which she has recently finished the feature and 6 years project Eskawata Kayawai for a US premiere at the PS2023 MAPS Conference. This coexistence with indigenous peoples has changed her life and ways of perceiving reality, cultivating a spiritual depth through her work. Her current project "Living Libraries" focuses on documenting endangered wisdom from first nations in Brazil and beyond.

Speakers: Joseph Mays received his MSc in Ethnobotany from the University of Kent researching responses to globalization by the Yanesha of central Peru. Graduating with biology and anthropology degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University, he published a medicinal plant guide for the Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve in the Ecuadorian cloud forest. Joseph also holds a certificate in Psychedelic Assisted Therapies from Naropa University, and his conservation work explores how cultural-conditioning influences approaches to biocultural sustainability. His Indigenous rights advocacy stresses the importance of ground-up structures that emphasize local agency and challenge conventional philanthropic models in attempts to support Indigenous autonomy and biodiversity. Joseph is Program Director of Chacruna’s Indigenous Reciprocity Initiative (IRI), where he partners with Indigenous community organizations throughout the Americas to support Chacruna’s mission of increasing cultural reciprocity in the psychedelic space, raising unconditional funding and engaging with local stakeholders on their own terms.

[Film Main Credits]

Director : Lara Jacoski and Patrick Belem

D.O.P : Lara Jacoski and Patrick Belem

In association with: Ninawá Pai da Mata and Txai Vinícius Yube Ika Ni Bai

Production: Bem-te-vi Produções

Co-Producer : Joakim Vocke Hauge (Hinterland)

Executive producer: Oona Chaplin (Double Rainbow Productions), Torstein Grude (Piraya), Alex Moreno (Cine-Creative Media)

Co-executive producers: Lucía Alonso, Bodhi Kaya, Coco Amos and Kristen Nicole

Sound: Origens Sound Farm – Andreia Freire

Music: The Huni Kuin People

Main cast: Ninawá Pai Da Mata, Ikamuru Huni Kuin, Yube Dua Bake, Txana Tuwe, Dua Buse Dua Bake / Huni Kuin indigenous people.

This work received grants from the Brazilian Show Me The Fund (powered by Brazilian Content, Cinema do Brasil, Projeto Paradiso) plus a 2 years support of international collective funding from kind souls all over the world.

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