Eli Roth Joins Amazon Rainforest Fundraiser After Criticism From Advocacy Group

Associated Press
Eli Roth

The director, whose new film 'The Green Inferno' has caught flak from Amazon Watch, is partnering with the Mongobay website to raise awareness about the region's indigenous peoples.

Eli Roth — whose new film The Green Inferno was filmed in the Amazon rainforest — has joined forces with Mongabay, a web site devoted to environmental science and conservation, and the charity fund-raising platform Prizeo for a fundraising campaign aimed at raising awareness about the Amazon rainforest. It will focus on national education and awareness, tied to a multi-city tour on which Roth is embarking.

The campaign aims to directly conserve at least 10,000 acres of rainforest — an area 12 times the size of New York City's Central Park — and publish 100 stories aiming to reach more than one million people. With the proceeds of this campaign, Mongabay said it will establish a journalism fund to produce stories on threats facing indigenous people and forests in the Amazon. Mongabay will also distribute funds to non-profit organizations working with indigenous people to protect forests and cultures in the Peruvian Amazon.

Amazon Watch, another advocacy group, had earlier criticized The Green Inferno, after viewing its trailer, as “racist, promoting retrograde stereotypes of indigenous peoples as savages that enable policies detrimental to the survival of isolated Amazonian indigenous peoples.” The movie follows a group of American activists who are captured and tormented by an isolated tribe of cannibals during a trip to the Amazon. Roth has described the horror movie as an “indictment of social justice warriors” who are “not actually doing anything.” According to his reps, the current fundraising was planned before Amazon Watch launched its objections.

Donors at the Prizeo.com/GreenInferno site, at www.prizeo.com/Eli, will be automatically entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip for two to Los Angeles to have lunch with Roth, tour the Crypt TV studio and be treated to a private screening. Donations start at $5 an entry, and donors can choose to donate higher amounts in exchange for additional rewards like movie props and memorabilia, a development deal with Crypt TV (http://www.crypttv.com/) and even a custom prop of your head on a spike.

Mongabay CEO and founder Rhett Butler said, “Although this may seem an unconventional partnership for Mongabay, it presents us with a great opportunity to connect with a highly engaged and socially aware audience around issues that are directly relevant to all of us. We have been speaking with BH Tilt and Eli Roth for several weeks, and it’s clear that we have the support of a filmmaker who cares passionately about the issues that Mongabay stands for.”

Roth added in a statement: “I’m thrilled to be partnering with two terrific organizations that will help fans channel their goodwill towards helping the unprotected tribes of the Amazon in a truly effective way. Horror films have always provoked discussion by pointing out a social injustice in the world, and I made The Green Inferno to spark discussion and bring awareness to the devastation these tribes face at the hands of corporations. While my film is a work of fiction, sadly what is going on in the Amazon is all too real, and after we screened the film for Mongabay we all agreed that we could use the film's publicity to help connect fans with them and support the incredible work they’re doing to help the rainforest and protect the people who live there peacefully.”

The Green Inferno will be released nationwide Sept. 25 by BH Tilt, Blumhouse Productions’ new label that uses new distribution strategies, in association with High Top Releasing, a label using Focus Features’ distribution capabilities.

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