A NEW film following indigenous Amazonians as they visit a Scottish forest during COP26 is set for release next week.

The film, entitled The Ghost Rainforest, documents what happened when five indigineous leaders from the Karajá, Munduruku and Huni Kuin tribes in the Amazon conducted a blessing in an Argyll forest during the global climate conference.

Filmmaker Vivien Cumming worked with the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest, Association Jiboiana and Raleigh International to help organise the visit.

She knew the experience of taking the indigenous leaders to visit Scotland’s coastal temperate rainforest had to be made into a film.

“The film follows Narubia Werreria, who was one of the indigenous leaders.” she said. “She was a stand-out person. The person we originally wanted in the film wasn’t able to be there and Narubia just showed up and became this really powerful presence.

The National:

“One day we took them to Cormanachan Community Woodland in Argyll, part of Scotland’s rainforest, where they planted an oak tree and did a sacred blessing.

“We had an event in the village hall in Lochgoilhead afterwards and Narubia made a speech that moved everyone to tears.”

The film is told from the perspective of Werreria and follows her as she and the other leaders explore Scotland’s forests and compare them to the rainforest of their homelands.

Cumming said that the indigenous leaders reaction to Scotland’s environment wasn’t what she expected.

She said: “The West Coast is the place I take my friends to show them how amazing Scotland is.

“Yet when we arrived the first thing they said to me was: ‘Where are all the trees? We know they used to be trees here, where have they gone?’

The National:

“We then took them to a bit of monoculture, a Sitka spruce plantation, and they said: ‘This is the problem. It’s what is happening in Brazil, too’.

“They basically said ‘We don’t want our country to end up like yours’.

“Brazil is being deforested faster than any country in the world and yet they saw Scotland as somewhere that’s actually worse off.”

“They even said that the trees - the ones that were left - were really sad.”

According to the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest the semi-natural woodlands of the west coast contain an abundance of mosses, liverworts and lichens that make it an internationally important rainforest habitat which scientists recognise as one of the rarest in the world.

Only 30,000 acres of this kind of forest is left in Scotland and it faces a multitude of threats including overgrazing by deer and ash dieback.

Cumming added that the impact of the tribe leaders is still on-going in the communities they visited.

The National:

She said: “They stayed in Lochwinnoch, just south of Glasgow, and they had the most amazing impact on the community there.

“At the end of their stay one of their neighbours came up to me and said: ‘Before they came here I didn’t know my neighbours and now I have best friends’. That touched me so much.

“A lot of the people that went to the event were quite skeptical of the indigenous people and their spirituality.

“But after the event one of the most skeptical people there said to me: ‘We have more to learn from them than they do from us.’ “It just showed that we’re actually the ones who don’t know how to connect with nature and connect with each other.”

The short film will be released on August 16 on the Earthrise Youtube channel.

It has already been nominated for two awards at the Jackson Wild film festival.