By Tara Houska
Despite Roth’s assertion that a fictional film causing harm to existing peoples is “absurd,” presenting an at-risk population as cannibalistic beasts feeds into the mantra of saving, assimilating and educating uncivilized tribes for their own good (and the good of resource-hungry corporations). Stereotypes and dehumanization have very real consequences.
Roth himself joked about the impact of his film crew to the isolated Amazonian tribe he located and featured in his film, “We [had] to tell them what a movie is…They’ve never even seen a television…[B]y the end they were all playing with iPhones and iPads. We’ve completely polluted the social system and f*cked them up.”
These days, Roth is attempting to soothe the many environmental and indigenous rights organizations that have denounced his pending film. He’s joined a campaign to preserve the rainforest and partnered with a charity to start a journalism fund highlighting the issues faced by indigenous peoples.
On Wednesday, he told Variety he “made ‘The Green Inferno’ to spark discussion and bring awareness to the devastation these tribes face at the hands of corporations.” That’s a far cry from a man who earlier stated that he wanted to make a cannibal film but needed the right storyline.
For more on The Green Inferno, see "From Tiger Lily to Green Inferno" and Cannibal Indians in Green Inferno.