Guardians of Life: Short film seeks to raise awareness of indigenous peoples in defense of the forest and the climate

Guardians of Life is a short film that seeks to engage the public in different aspects of the climate and ecological emergency – mainly the plight of the Amazon and its indigenous communities and as an alarm call for deforestation and biodiversity loss.

The two-minute short film, set in an emergency room, stars Hollywood actresses and actors including Rosario Dawson, Joaquin Phoenix, Matthew Modine, and Q’orianka Kilcher. The film from the director and environmental activist Shaun Monson was produced in collaboration with Extinction Rebellion and Amazon Watch.

Guardians of Life centres on the near-critical stage of the climate crisis the planet is facing. The film features Joaquin Phoenix as an emergency room doctor, who alongside his fellow medical professionals are attempting to revive a dying patient.

In 2019, fires devastated the Amazon rainforest due to an increase in deforestation fueled by Brazil’s president and industrial agribusiness. Indigenous peoples have sounded the alarm and called for international support to stop what they identify as a “genocide”. These fires threaten not only indigenous lands, but the global climate.

According to Leila Salazar-López of Amazon Watch, the Guardians of Life short film is an example of art reflecting life. She said: “An indigenous woman saving the Amazon is not a metaphor: it is a daily reality as the rainforest is razed and indigenous lands are invaded for profit. The Amazon rainforest is the heart of our world, and indigenous forest guardians are central to its well-being and to our collective future.”

The film’s female lead, Q’orianka Kilcher added: “As an indigenous actress I feel a strong responsibility to use my public platform to help amplify the voices who are seldom heard including all the indigenous defenders around the world who are the protectors of our Mother Earth, the Amazon Rainforest, and all the biodiversity and animals.”

The Joker star Joaquin Phoenix said: “The fact is we are clear-cutting and burning rainforests and seeing the negative effects of those actions worldwide. People don’t realize there’s still time, but only if we act now and make sweeping changes to our consumption. We can’t wait for governments to solve these problems for us. We can’t wait until the election to try to make these changes. We have a personal responsibility to make changes in our own lives and act now.”

Amazon Watch

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at

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