A Kôkôjagõti Blog

Summer 2018 Collaborations

New Solar Power, A Second Film Workshop, and the International Society of Ethnobiology Conference

Post by Dr. Laura Zanotti

This blog features news about the people and stories behind the filmmaking initiatives and filmmakers who are part of Kôkôjagõti, a Kayapó-Mebêngôkre media center and collective in the Brazilian Amazon.


This summer was busy. We kicked it off by printing an over 50 page illustrated book in Portuguese designed by the Purdue EPICS GAPS Brazil team that is supervised by experts at Purdue, the Federal University of Uberlândia, and The Protected Forest Association (Associação Floresta Protegida-AFP). This book contained the results of over three years of hard work by the students as well as advisors, and covered sustainable solar designs, hardware and software recommendations, anti-virus campaigns, and safety recommendations. Created for the community of A’Ukre and the Kayapó NGO AFP, we were excited to hand over several print copies while in Brazil and look forward to our continued work with our two local partners to support the Kôkôjagõti media center and media makers.

With the help of AFP intern Alex Gasçon we were able to deliver a weather resilience workshop, also designed by EPICS GAPS students, on best practices on how to care for laptop computers in humid and dusty spaces as well as provided extra protective casings for the laptops.


Perhaps the most exciting event for the summer, though, was working with a local solar technician to mounting of six solar panels on Kôkôjagõti and the set up of a complete solar system, inclusive of charge controllers, fuse boxes, and other safety elements that to date has not been available or accessible to the community or filmmakers.

With permission from the filmmakers and technician, we filmed and photographed the entire set-up so other communities wishing to do the same will have a blueprint.

We are thrilled to have an opportunity to work with the AFP Béture Collective (Colectivo Béture- Béture) this summer. Béture is a filmmaking collective lead by Simone Giovine, and supports the media making efforts filmmakers from across the Kayapó Lands. With Béture and AFP we partnered with Middle Tennessee State University to host the second filmmaking workshop in the Kayapó village of Kaprankrere. Over 21 filmmakers joined in on the workshop to produce 6 short films at the end of four days of coursework. There were two main differences in the workshop this year: several Middle Tennessee State students joined in on the workshop, providing technical support to the filmmakers, and we were able to invite a cohort of women filmmakers for the first time.

After the workshop, a select number of more advanced filmmakers from the Béture Collective traveled to Belém for the International Society of Ethnobiology Conference Belém +30. Two of the team members were filmmakers from Kôkôjagõti. The collective was the only multi-camera indigenous filmmaking crew at the event and was able to film panels, forums, exhibitions, and the sociobiodiversity fair. Importantly, the collective was there to document the historic re-writing and updating of the 1988 Belém Declaration, which established the importance of valuing indigenous, traditional and local knowledge systems, benefit-sharing agreements, and rights. The collective also participated with a larger delegation of Kayapó leadership to open the Darrell Posey exhibit at the Museum Goeldi Zoobotanical Gardens in the city, which memorializes Posey’s work and research program with the Kayapó for over two decades.

Photos by Laura Zanotti

Photos by Laura Zanotti