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Join us on April 11th for an evening screening of the documentary ‘I am the River, the River is Me’, exploring New Zealand’s Whanganui River, the first river in the world to be granted legal environmental personhood. The documentary inspires new perspectives on ecological stewardship and protection, centring indigenous Maori knowledge and values. After the screening, we will host a roundtable discussion on human-nature relations, rethinking Western-centric ideas, and end with an exchange of stories about the living environments that have shaped us.
Event details of CLOSE UP #7.3: ‘I am the River, the River is Me’
11 April 2024
18:30 -22:00
BG 3

This screening is supported by Movies That Matter.

I am the River, the River is Me (88')

Māori tribal leader Ned Tapa takes a group of friends and family on a breathtaking canoe trip down the Whanganui River in Aotearoa, as the Māori call New Zealand. The Whanganui is the first river to be recognized as a legal person. Together, this diverse group of people embraces the spirit of the river and tries to find what is needed to save the planet.

Everyone in the group – including the film crew – has a voice and becomes a character in this film. The river organically unites them in their goal to bring about a fundamental shift in values, to protect our planet for future generations. The Whanganui River sparked a global ‘rights of nature’ movement and is the iconic main character of the film. Filled with beautiful meditative images of the breathtaking nature. ‘If you sit and listen, you’ll hear the country singing,’ Ned Tapa says. ‘All together, intertwined, in harmony, in sync.’ 

‘I Am the River, the River is Me’, is directed by Petr Lom and had its global premiere in 2024 at the Movies That Matter Festival.


Martha-Cecilia Dietrich

Martha-Cecilia Dietrich is a social anthropologist and filmmaker. She currently holds a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam. Her research focusses on social justice in post-conflict settings and human and environmental rights in Latin America.

Ellen Mane

Ellen Bokkinga studies Cultural Analysis at the UvA, works as an educator, and performs poetry under the name Ellen Mane. In her work, she explores 'poetic agency', cultural phenomena, social imagination and human-nature relations.