This spring, the Embassy of the North Sea, together with ZINDOC, will launch the Name Your River grass roots impact programme for the film I Am The River, The River Is Me, a documentary about the Whanganui River in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The Whanganui River is the first river in the world to be granted personhood rights in 2017, after a long legal battle by the Māori for recognition of their world view. The Māori regard the river as their ancestor: an indivisible and spiritual being. This historical recognition sparked the worldwide Rights of Nature movement, which is now the fastest growing legal movement in the world.
For this film, Māori river guardian Ned Tapa invites a small group of water activists for a five-day canoe trip down the river. Among them are an Australian First Nations Elder and river activist, his daughter, an Australian artist and an international/Māori/New Zealand film crew. The Whanganui River is the main character in this ‘river road movie’.
I Am The River, The River Is Me is more than a glimpse into a world that seems so distant from Western society, it is a call to action, a call to revalue ‘human – non human’ relationships for the sake of all (future) life on earth.
Film distributor Cinema Delicatessen – known for distributing the nature documentary Silence of the Tides – will release the film in Dutch cinemas from May 23, 2024. At the same time, the international Name Your River impact programme will be launched. The aim of the impact programme is to use the film to advocate for a sustainable human-nature relationship: humans as part of nature, rather than above or outside of it. The impact programme encourages bottom up and top down action to effectively represent water: legally, politically and socially. More information will follow soon!
“I feel it is my job to ensure that what I’ve been given, I hand on to others.
— Ned Tapa (Māori elder & Whanganui river guardian)
Director and Cinematographer: Petr Lom / Producer: Corinne van Egeraat / Editor: Gys Zevenbergen / Sound: Ad Stoop en Tahuaroa Ohia / 2nd Camera & Drone: Richard Sidey / Sound Design: Mark Glynne and Olmo van Straalen / Grading: Michiel Rummens / Postproduction: Jan Jaap Kuiper
Coproduced with: The Whanganui River (Aotearoa/New Zealand), KRO-NCRV/de Boeddhistische Blik (Netherlands), Ten Thousand Images (Norway)
Supported by: Netherlands Film Fund, NPO-Fund, Norwegian Film Institute, Fritt Ord, Netherlands Film Production Incentive