Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  52 minutes
Date:  1996
Genre:  Expository
Language:  Not available
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Secrets of the Choco

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The Choco rainforest in Colombia faces development. What is the best option?

Secrets of the Choco

This beautifully photographed documentary looks at the choices for development facing the Choco in Colombia, one of the largest relatively unspoiled rainforests on the planet. Hugging the Pacific Coast to the West and rising to the Andes in the East, the Choco still hides thousands of undiscovered plants and animals, and contains undisturbed ancient forests and shorelines. But large scale development plans and the impending completion of the Pan American Highway threaten the future of the Choco and the lives of the blacks and Indians who live along the banks of its maze of rivers.

This video takes us into the Choco aboard an old steamer, the Jestiven. On board to interpret what we see and to debate the region's future are six of the world's foremost experts on tropical ecology and sustainable development.

'This excellent video is... packed with information...Part one focuses on the biological diversity and richness of the rainforest. Part two bites into the meat of the difficult questions surrounding rainforest protection and economic development. Issues including intellectual property rights to genetic resources, ecotourism, logging, depletion of fish, hydroelectric dams, and the poverty of the indigenous people and the black population living in this region are... discussed... A must for environmental studies, Native American units, Latin American studies, social studies, science, and multicultural classrooms. ' School Library Journal

'In this well made documentary, McLaren raises many questions about the Choco, such as how to preserve the rainforest yet increase the standard of living for its inhabitants, how to balance the demands for development with the rights of the indigenous inhabitants and with the needs of the environment...well worth watching. Appropriate for junior high through university, it would be of interest to students in courses on social studies, anthropology, political science, economics, and geography.' Rebecca S. Graves, J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library, MC Journal


Grand Prize, Festival International du Film Medical et de Sante de Mauriac, France
Golden Sheaf, Best Science and Nature, Yorkton Film Festival
Honorable Mention, Hot Docs, Toronto
Merit Award, International Wildlife Film Festival
DESIRABLE, California Instructional Technology Clearinghouse
Finalist, International Environmental Film Festival, Pretoria
Nominated, Gemini Awards
The Other America Film Festival, San Antonio


Main credits

McLaren, Ian (film director)
McLaren, Ian (film producer)
Dressel, Holly (screenwriter)
Jordan, Albert (narrator)

Other credits

Directors of photography, Alain Dupras, Renald Bellemare; editor, Franois Valcour; music composer and re-recording mixer, Daniel A. Vermette.

Distributor credits

Productions Grand Nord Quebec

Ian McLaren

Productions Grand Nord Quebec
Ian McLaren

Docuseek2 subjects

Forests and Rainforests
Conservation and Protection
Conservation Biology
Indigenous Studies
Environmental Anthropology
Environmental Geography
Human Geography
Latin American Studies
Multicultural Studies
Government Policy
Politics and Political Science
Social Psychology
Environmental Sociology

Distributor subjects

Developing World
Forests and Rainforests
Indigenous Peoples
Latin American Studies
Multicultural Studies
Political Science
Social Psychology
Sustainable Development


Choco, rainforests,; Colombia, development,; South America,; tropics,; ecology,; sustainable development, ecotourism, David Suzuki, Alvaro Soto, Francis Halle, Bill Lamar, Yolanda Kakabadse, WTO; "Secrets of the Choco"; Bullfrog Films

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