In 1910, Roger Casement, Britain’s Consul in Brazil, was ordered to investigate worker’s rights violations by a Peruvian company leading South America’s burgeoning rubber trade. His report and personal diary detailed the untold horrors of slave labour imposed on Indigenous Amazonians. Also known as a poet and revolutionary martyr of Ireland’s rebellion against England in 1916, Casement is widely considered the father of twentieth-century human rights investigations. Casement was later sentenced to death for his audacious anti-imperialist views and stance against the crown in support of Irish independence.
Nevertheless, his eyewitness account of what actually happened in Putumayo and his empathetic spirit for resistance live on. Narrated by Irish actor Stephen Rea, Brazilian director Aurélio Michiles’ film culls from passages of Casement’s writings, archival material, historian postulations, and the moving oral histories of descendants of the enslaved to connect with the living narrative of Indigenous peoples and the harmful extractive practices in the Amazon.
VIFF runs from October 1st to 11th. Secrets From Putumayo screens virtually throughout the festival and in-person on October 7th at 6:30pm and October 11th at 6:30pm.
Reel Causes partners with filmmakers and Canadian causes dedicated to addressing global social justice issues. We host film screenings followed by a Q&A session to educate and inspire our community, and provide a forum for authentic conversation aroundF the issues that affect us locally.