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Uprooted: The Olympic Tribe

What does the world’s most watched mega-event and a remote indigenous community have in common? A forgotten indigenous tribe in Borneo is devastated by a merciless logging company. Determined to find the source of the forces ravaging their ancestral forest, three tribesmen take matters into their own hands and follow their stolen wood. This sets in motion a quest which will take them to Tokyo, and the heart of the Olympic phenomenon.

Borneo, most of which is Indonesian territory, is the third largest island in the world and one of the most important Borneo is one of the most important rainforest areas on earth. Only 60 years ago, it was almost completely covered by primary forest. This forest is home to many indigenous peoples and the diversity of species is greater here than anywhere else in the world. But the rainforest on Borneo is also being cleared to an increasingly greater extent to make way for palm oil and timber plantations. A habitat that is thousands of years old is threatening to disappear.

Filmmakers Balint Revesz and Angus MacInnes spent several years living with the Dayak-Bahao people in the central highlands of Borneo, observing and researching with them the creeping loss of their ancestral homeland. Together with three emissaries of the village, they embark on a journey that leads from the rainforests of Borneo to the Japanese metropolis of Tokyo, where tropical timber is being used in the stadiums for the Olympic Games. They follow the path of the stolen trees and come across swathes of devastation and huge palm oil plantations in the middle of the jungle. On the one hand, the film raises the question of how supply chains can be traced or concealed and what role politics plays in this. On the other hand, it delves deeply into indigenous life and the mythical relationship of the indigenous people to the forest, which has been preserved by their peoples for thousands of years. With magnificent images and a deep closeness to the local people, the filmmakers tell of a landscape in transition and of a very special relationship between humans and nature.

PRODUCTION INFO

  • Year: 2021
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Production: Tondowski Films
  • Director: Balint Revesz and Angus MacInnes
  • Available Versions: ENG
  • Country of production: Germany

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