The Episodes

Episode 1: Forests

Pre-colonial ‘Brunca’, as it was known, is now split into multiple districts in two provinces of Costa Rica including the world’s most biodiverse region - the Osa Peninsula. ‘Brunca’ used to be inhabited by an indigenous community now much smaller and living on much less land. The Boruca Indigenous Community has a respectful and long-standing relationship with the forests of Brunca, and there is an ever-growing effort to conserve both the Borucan culture and Costa Rica’s forests.

The Osa Peninsula holds a significant portion of Costa Rica’s biodiversity and that of the world. Deforestation reduced the country’s forest cover from three quarters to less than 40% in a short period, but now almost 60% of the country is forested again and more than a quarter of Costa Rica’s land is protected. The Osa is an inspiring example of a forested area relatively well protected thanks to the area’s myriad of successful conservation, education, and sustainability projects run by individuals and organisations working together with the local authorities. It’s clear to see what is working to conserve Brunca’s forests and it’s a model that could work all over the planet.

Episode 2: Waterways

Despite centuries of challenges, the Boruca Indigenous Community are proud survivors now living and teaching others about their patronage from the village of Boruca. Their deep respect for nature, and their faith in its protector protecting them, are said to be the reasons for their survival to this day. Respecting fresh water sources and the fragility of them is key and the locals show us how one less-than-thoughtful activity and how increasingly extreme weather events in the area can affect the water supply of thousands of people. Climate Change is felt in Boruca and they began adapting years ago. This concept is mirrored in the Cloud Forest region of Monteverde - an area separate from Brunca but now Costa Rica’s longest-conserved area of biodiversity. The waterfalls in Monteverde flow into both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea of the Atlantic Ocean. Boruca is one of the only non-displaced indigenous communities in the Americas and, like for many of us, the survival of their culture depends on the survival of their community. Monteverde doesn’t host a big indigenous population, but this place has listened to the wisdom of its ancestors and it is a symbol of what is possible in conservation when lots of individuals and small projects work together. The links between us all… respect and waterways.

Episode 3: Oceans

The Pacific Ocean on the west coast of pre-colonial ‘Brunca’ the ‘Golfo Dulce’ are teaming with unique marine life but battling global challenges. Costa Rica’s inland projects have expanded to encompass conserving marine environments and connecting them with other areas including mangrove and coastal zones and recently it is possible to see what positive impact this has had. Coastal communities along the Puntarenas coast are beginning to understand the connection between the land and sea where they live and how this affects migratory species. Successful conservation of whales and sea turtles goes beyond seawater, but encompasses mangrove protection, coral reef restoration, ocean corridors, and information sharing between nations as far apart as Costa Rica and Iceland. Global indicators of ocean health meet in the Osa’s ‘Sweet Gulf’. The Boruca community understands that the ocean connects us with everything else on Earth, and it is this as a given that is enabling Costa Rica to successfully conserve biodiversity on a scale bigger than its own protected areas.

Episode 4: Human Habitats: The Art of Living Together

Brunca - ‘Tierra de cenizas’ or Earth of ashes. The people of Boruca aren’t so different from you and I; they have smartphones, ride motorbikes and buy food from supermarkets too. Their way of life isn’t perfect, but they have sustained much more than many of the communities we belong to. The Boruca way of living sustainably and respecting nature above all else has brought this community from 1500 BC to now because they understand that we are not separate from nature, but we are within it with a responsibility to care for it and help it thrive. Successful permaculture, protecting indigenous rights and freedoms, reducing meat consumption, understanding local wildlife behaviours, promoting the free movement of wildlife, eating seasonally, avoiding harmful products that may affect the lives of wildlife locally, and adequately educating the community uniquely in each location to ensure they can carry a sustainable way of life forward… Those are just some of the lessons we can learn from the people of Boruca. Living with one another when we are so diverse isn’t an exact science, but there is an art to it and maybe the Boruca community knows what it means to build life together when things might look bleak.

Episode 5: The Making of Native to Brunca

We are a unique production crew in that we’re not career filmmakers, but instead we’re a mixture of creatives that have found ourselves in this industry. We came together with a specific vision of people across the globe reconnecting with nature and uniting as Natives of the Earth. We aimed to achieve this through exposing people to alternative perspectives of what it means to live sustainably, cherish nature’s offerings, and value the work it takes to protect and live in harmony with the natural world, enriching people’s lives in the process. Making a documentary just happened to be the best way we could see to reach lots of people and empower them. Find out how we did it, what we learnt about documenting wildlife and the incredible conservation work we engaged with in the process.



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