Spears From All Sides

Spears From All Sides

Since the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, Ecuador’s Waorani tribe, have defended their Amazon rainforest with spears. In the 1950’s American missionaries cleared the way for oil companies to enter Waorani lands. Now 70% of Ecuador’s Amazon, home to some 12 tribes, has been divided into oil blocks, polluting one of the most bio diverse rainforests of the planet. Only one small tribe, the Waorani, have successfully fought to keep oil off most of their land.

25 years ago, director Christopher Walker went to the Amazon to tell the Waorani’s story in the documentary film TRINKETS & BEADS (AMPAS Outstanding Documentary, Best Cultural Survival Film, Mountainfilm, Best Documentary Paris Environmental Film Festival) Now, Ecuador has started to auction off the last virgin rainforest to the international oil industry – including the Yasuni National Park, thought to contain more species per acre than anywhere else on earth. At the end of 2014, Walker returned to Ecuador to see if the Waorani could still win their fight against big oil. He filmed over three years, up to the imminent auction of Waorani oil Block 22.

SPEARS FROM ALL SIDES follows the young, charismatic Waorani activist Opi as he tells the dramatic story of a vehement, community based resistance by tribal communities in one of the most remote and beautiful areas of the world. It reveals the duplicity of the Ecuadorean government and the oil companies in their attempts to defeat the Waorani at all costs, including the co-option and subsequent betrayal of the former Waorani leader Moi – the hero of the previous film. Out of disaster, Opi sees a possibility of hope – regaining their autonomy which they lost with the arrival of the missionaries 60 years ago.

SPEARS FROM ALL SIDES, besides being a gripping story following action and events as they unfold, demonstrates the complex battles at the frontlines of climate change which we are rarely able to see on film.

“Powerful, memorable; the story of the Waorani tribe is happening in real time. Spears from All Sides [shows that] environmental justice and social justice are intertwined; a win for the environment is a win for the people who depend on it.” —Malissa Stark-Rodenburg, Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism

“Highly recommended! Explores the devastainting price the Waorani tribe has paid to stop the devastation of their rainforest and country.” —LaRoi Lawton, City University of New York, in the journal Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)

Spears from All Sides effectively demonstrates the effects of oil exploration, and the challenges that it brings to local communities. In the midst of all the complexity, it also manages to find hope. Visually stimulating, compelling. —Dr. Marc Becker, author of Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador's Modern Indigenous Movements


Main credits

Walker, Christopher (filmmaker)
Walker, Christopher (editor of moving image work)
Khachooni, Lara (film producer)
Khachooni, Lara (editor of moving image work)

Other credits

Camera, Gordon Durnin [and 3 others]; editors, David Fox, Lara Khachooni, Christopher Walker; composer, Ian Hill.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Business Ethics
Cultural Anthropology
Latin American Studies
South America


; "Spears from All Sides"; Icarus Films; oil; indigenous; Amazon; rainforest; human rights; Ecuador; Waorani; Trinkets and Beads; ; "Spears From All Sides"; Icarus Films

Related Films

Trinkets and Beads

The oil company MAXUS and Huaroni Indians of the Amazon.