A short film made by a Clitheroe writer and his wife has been recognised at a festival that respects human rights around the world.
Co-directed by Neil White (36) and produced by his partner Lesly Vpela, the film entitled Yage Is Our Life, was named Best International Short Film at the Respect Human Rights Film Festival in Belfast.
Neil was born in Blackburn, but currently lives in Clitheroe with Lesly, who is originally from Colombia.
They met in Colombia while Neil was working as an English teacher and decided to make a film about the problems faced by the indigenous groups living in the Amazon region of the country.
Yage is Our Life follows the indigenous people of Putumayo, Colombia, their relationship with the plants of the Amazon rainforest and their perceptions about the commercialisation of their traditional medicines.
Neil said: “Indigenous groups living in the Putumayo region of southern Colombia have been using medicinal plants for the health, social cohesion and spiritual guidance of their communities for centuries.
“For these indigenous groups their plants are sacred, allowing them access to ancient wisdom and the spirits of nature.
“In their ceremonies the Taitas, or traditional doctors, use various plants to treat their patients for physical and emotional illnesses and as a guide for making decisions.
“Over the past 500 years the ancestral territories of Putumayo have been gradually eroded and these communities are at risk of further loss of land and culture.
“In recent years their medicinal plants have become increasingly well-known in Western society and this film voices the concerns of the indigenous leaders over the threat of globalisation, and the pressures exerted on their homelands by the industrialised world.”
Neil and Lesly have also set up a charity called Ancestral Seeds.
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