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Yasuni Man: A Real-Life Avatar Story Unfolding in Ecuador's Amazon

"Yasuni Man" is a powerful documentary exploring the struggle of the Waorani people against the encroaching oil industry in Ecuador's Amazon.

Keywords: Yasuni, Waorani, Ecuador, Amazon, oil industry, indigenous rights, environmental conservation, human rights violations.


"Yasuni Man," directed by Ryan Killackey and released in 2018, is a poignant documentary that delves into a real-life Avatar story in the heart of Ecuador's Amazon. The documentary sheds light on the ongoing conflict between the Waorani people, oil companies, and the Ecuadorian government, highlighting the struggle for survival and the fight against human rights violations. In the era of climate change and environmental awareness, the relevance of this documentary is more significant than ever.


"Yasuni Man" takes us on an expedition into Yasuni, the most biodiverse forest on Earth. Alongside filmmaker Ryan Patrick Killackey and his native friend Otobo, we witness the escalating battle of the Waorani people against oil companies and their own government. As the oil industry encroaches, human rights violations escalate, and a forest Eden is under threat of destruction.

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The documentary adopts an investigative and participatory approach, with Killackey immersing himself in the unfolding story. The film's research is meticulous and the depth of the subject exploration is profound. The presentation style is raw and impactful, providing viewers with an authentic glimpse into the events happening in Yasuni.

Historical and Factual Context:

The Waorani people have been living in the Ecuadorian Amazon for centuries, with their culture and livelihood deeply connected to the forest. However, the discovery of oil has led to increasing encroachment by oil companies and the government, threatening their way of life.

Key themes in the film:

  • The struggle for indigenous rights and self-determination
  • The destructive impact of the oil industry on the environment and indigenous cultures
  • The importance of biodiversity and forests in sustaining life on Earth

Film Comparisons:

Compared to other documentaries on iWonder, "Yasuni Man" provides a unique firsthand perspective of the Waorani people's struggle, as Killackey himself becomes part of the unfolding story.

Noteworthy Moments:

The documentary features several enlightening moments, including the intimate interactions with the Waorani people and the shocking revelations of human rights violations.


"Yasuni Man" has been well-received by audiences and critics alike, earning an IMDB score of 7.9. Critics have praised the film for its powerful storytelling and its raw depiction of the struggle in Yasuni.


"Yasuni Man" is a compelling documentary that offers a profound look into the struggle for survival and justice in the face of corporate greed and government apathy. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in indigenous rights, environmental conservation, and social justice.

Watch Yasuni Man - Streaming Online | iwonder (Free Trial)
A conflict rages deep in the Amazon of Ecuador. After missionaries sought to civilize them, the Waorani battle industry operatives and their own government in a fight to survive. Join us on an expedition into the most biodiverse forest on Earth. Witness what may be lost as a forest is destroyed - a…

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IMDB: 7.9
Awards: 6 wins & 2 nominations: Dublin International Film Festival, Sedona International Film Festival, Wildscreen Festival, Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival

Ryan Patrick Killackey: Filmmaker, environmentalist
Otobo: Waorani guide and friend

Yasuni, Ecuador

Links for further exploration

Key Questions Raised by the Film:

What can be done to protect the rights of indigenous peoples like the Waorani?

How can the global community contribute to the conservation of biodiverse regions like Yasuni?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form:

Book: "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss because both raise awareness about the dire consequences of environmental destruction.

Song: "Earth Song" by Michael Jackson since both address environmental issues and human rights violations.

Art: Picasso's "Guernica" as both depict a struggle against oppression and destruction.

Celebrity: Leonardo DiCaprio due to his environmental activism and advocacy for indigenous rights.

Colour: Green, symbolizing the rich biodiversity of the Amazon and environmentalism.

Music Style: Folk, because it often tells stories of struggle and resistance, much like the Waorani's fight for survival.