‘Rio Doce’ is a feature documentary film about one of the biggest environmental tragedies ever occurred in Brazil.
On November, 5th 2015, the iron ore tailing dam in Bento Rodrigues, a district of the historical city of Mariana, suffered a catastrophic failiure, launching more than 60 million cubic meters of iron waste down the valley, destroying the districts of Bento Rodrigues e Paracatu de Baixo and killing 17 people. The waste later flowed into Rio Doce, one of the biggest and most important rivers in the southeast of Brazil. The toxic brown mud reached the ocean 17 days later, and we were there to document it.
Our feature documentary shows how the disaster of the dam in Mariana caused different tragedies down the river, from distruction and death close to the epicenter, to an economical, social and environmental disaster that will take several years to heal.
‘Rio Doce’ shows the disaster through the perspective of those affected by it. People who lost their houses and belongings; people who lost their income in fishing, tourism and farming; people who lost their loved ones.
The production was based in two expeditions that followed the flow of the mud, from Mariana, where the dam collapsed, to Regência, where the mud flooded into the ocean. Additional footage was taken in Abrolhos, an archipelago 36 nautical miles from the coast that might be affected by the mud.
The first expedition was in November, only two weeks after the disaster. In this first trip we were able to get the feeling of uncertainty and sorrow brought by the mud. The work of the voluntaries and the donations that came from all over Brazil to Mariana, the city most affected. The lack of clean water in all the cities down the Rio Doce and how the people were coping with it. The despair of people waiting for days in a line waiting for water. People who depended on the river for their living not knowing what to do. The anticipation of the arrival of the mud in the ocean and how it would affect the marine life. The work of biologists to move turtle nests to a safer area.
The second expedition came six months later and we were able to revisit most of the characters and places we had in the first expedition, giving a sense of the transformations caused by the mud and how people are coping with it.
In total, we had more than 20 days of shooting, with over 100 people interviewed. In the two trips, we drove over 3 thousand miles and visited over 20 cities to be able to tell the whole story.
And why is this film so important? Greedy mining companies have similar dams all over the world, resting on top of cities, rivers and forests. We need to raise the awareness to this type of disaster, pushing companies to invest more in secutity and sustainable practices. Samarco, the company responsible for the well, owned by two of the biggest mining companies in the world, Vale and BHP, was reportedly using old practices and didn’t even install sirens in the areas adjacent to the dam. This is a disaster that will take years to heal, economically, socially and, most important, environmentally. People have to be aware of the consequences of it.
Now, we need your help to finalize this documentary and tell this story to the world. We need an investment for color grading, soundtrack, graphics and other finishing touches. Crowdfunding resources will also be used for divulgation, Brazilian and international festivals entry fees and two premieres to the victims of the disaster: one in Mariana, where the disaster started, and another in Regência, where the 'Rio Doce' meets the ocean.
Help us finish this documentary and show this story to the world. You can donate through our crowdfunding campaign in Kickante (in Portuguese) or donate directly through the PayPal button below.