FILM : ‘Flame’ Illuminates Dying Tribe

<i> Zan Dubin covers the arts for The Times Orange County Edition. </i>

“Yanomami: Keepers of the Flame,” a prize-winning documentary written and co-produced by Leslie Baer-Brown of Laguna Hills about an indigenous South American people, will have its Orange County premiere Friday at 8 p.m. at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.

Baer-Brown traveled to the Amazon jungle last fall to make the film, which won first prize in this year’s U.S. Environmental Film Festival.

The film, co-produced by Cal Poly Pomona, outlines the plight of the Yanomami, whose culture has changed little over the past 6,000 years, but whose existence has been threatened by development and diseases brought by outsiders. Friday’s screening will benefit the nonprofit Amazonia Foundation, formed to provide the tribe with medical aid.


Baer-Brown estimates that of 20,000 Yanomami alive five years ago, 14,000 remain, mostly in Venezuela. “These people end up losing limbs or dying because of afflictions we’d call simple infections,” she said.

A screening of the film in Los Angeles raised $6,000 for the Amazonia Foundation’s Yanomami Medical Aid project. But $24,000 is needed before medical supplies and personnel can be sent to the Amazon, Baer-Brown said. She is hopeful. “People are beginning to see indigenous people as a natural resource to be protected just like some of our other natural resources.”

Actor Michael Horse, who appears in the film and who played Deputy Hawk in the “Twin Peaks” TV series, will speak before the Anaheim screening, as will Baer-Brown, Cal Poly Pomona anthropology professor Dorothy Wills and Michael Stuart-Ani, who has lived with the Yanomami on and off for the past six years. Live South American music will be played.

What: “Yanomami: Keepers of the Flame.”

When: Friday, Sept. 11, at 8 p.m.

Where: The Grand Ball Room of the Disneyland Hotel, 1150 W. Cerritos Ave., Anaheim.

Whereabouts: Heading north on the Santa Ana (5) Freeway, exit at Katella Avenue, turn left, then right onto West Street. The hotel will be on the left. Heading south on the 5, exit at Ball Road, turn right, then left onto West Street. The hotel will be on the right.

Wherewithal: Tickets, at the door, are $25, $15 for full-time students or anyone 18 and under. Proceeds benefit the Amazonia Foundation.

Where to Call: (310) 285-9359.