Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend Envision Festival.
While at the festival, I attended a talk led by filmmaker Céline Cousteau on the Indigenous Tribes in the Amazon.
Meet Céline Cousteau
Envision Festival speaker and founder of
What was your biggest joy of speaking at Envision Festival?
Any opportunity to gather I think is necessary for human beings to come together as a community and to have a sense of a belonging which creates a safe space to be vulnerable and a place to be who you are.
Tell me about your upcoming film
Tribes on the Edge
The root of it is the interconnectivity of everything. If we think about something that’s happening to indigenous people in the Amazon and we can understand how it relates to us then we have an understanding of connecting to those people because they protect an ecosystem which provides oxygen for us. That ecosystem is also rich in biodiversity which is potential future pharmaceuticals for them and future pharmaceuticals for us on the outside. In a more direct way, these are the guardians of an ecosystem of which we depend. When they go, that ecosystem is up for grabs for those who have other priorities.
Tell me about the Céline Cousteau Film Fellowship. Who is this for and how can it help future filmmakers impact the world?
We want to give young activists an opportunity to take part in caused focus films and really feel what it means to tell good stories while not having the pressure of an income.
It’s these real grounded movements that will move films forward in meaningful ways. It’s all about telling a story to help people connect. Part of the energy of this goes out into the world and is in existence whether we know it or not. We all have to have faith in that.
How can one person make a difference for indigenous people and the ecosystem they protect?
Look at what we consume and trace it back to its origin. See if there is destruction of indigenous land because of it. Radical forms of revolution and anti-consumerism is creating your own food. We should also all cut out palm oil and support established organizations that are already fighting the good fight.
On your website it states that you’re someone who reconnects the human tribe, what do you mean by that and how do you go about it?
A lot of it is storytelling and talking about the interconnection of people everywhere. We are one species on a planet. We might look, speak, talk, eat and live in different ways. But when we talk about extinction, right now the tribes in the Amazon are people facing extinction and that’s going to be us someday.
We need to get humans to move and do things. We need experiential learning to keep someone’s attention like we have at Envision Festival. The festival goers are in their space, dancing, ready and open. Then they sit in lecture and absorb it. Then they go back and be in movement again. Catch people where they are and speak the language they’re accustomed to. Show people we feel and give them the license to feel too.
Why did you choose to speak at Envision Festival?
Costa Rica is a land I know and love. I lived here for three years working at a peace and conflict resolution conference. Envision Festival was a great opportunity to come back. There is a lot of thought put into all walks of this society and Envision is a sanctuary people can go to.
How do you go about finding opportunities to impact the world?
Most have been timely and organic, but I’m known for putting my energy out. They asked in the Amazon to tell their story so it came to me. I was working as a spokesperson for a skincare brand and did an interview for German Vogue and spoke about missing the creation of making jewelry. From that interview, I got a letter from the brand development president of Swarovski Crystals to be a guest designer. I said I’m going to write a book one day and now I’m in the negotiation for writing a book. I never went looking for it. I followed the conversations to the one I’m having now. I always take the meeting and I always take the conversation. That’s what got me to where I am. It’s all one. Put your real intention out into the world in an authentic way. If you’ve done the work to get there, it comes back.
What is the light or hope that you want the world to hang onto for the indigenous tribes in the Amazon?
It’s not an easy one. That’s why people shy away from this project and subject. I don’t have that perfect nugget for you, except that there is no reason to stop fighting. They’re not gonna stop fighting because they’re fearing extinction. I don’t fear extinction, but I know them so I can’t stop. I don’t think you would call it hope but it’s determination, hard work, focus and tenacity. Don’t let go. You can be tired and you can have your off days but do not let go.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to impact the world, what would that be?
You have to focus on your passion. Because if you’re truly passionate about something you will give everything. And don’t be swayed by the superficiality of the world and what they think is important. You have to be bold and courageous to follow through on what you feel is right. You’ll do a much better job at what you’re passionate about than what other people think you should be doing.
Connect with Céline Cousteau
Céline Cousteau is an explorer, public speaker, jewelry maker, filmmaker and Envision Festival speaker. To learn more about Céline and her work you can check out her website HERE or to apply to her film fellowship, you can do that HERE.