“Yai Wanonabalewa (The Enemy God)” has to be one of the most unique movies ever produced… and it’s now been released on DVD. Originally conceived of by 2 Yanomamo leaders some 15 years ago, it is a dramatic feature (not a documentary). Yet – nearly every scene is based on actual historical events. Because the government of Venezuela prevented the filming of the movie in that land, where the events occurred, the producers (10X Productions, led by a batch of former Caleb Project media specialists) enlisted the help of some 300 Kekchi tribesmen from southern Belize (many of whom have never before seen a movie — ever). This is a real-honest-to-goodness movie, shot on 35mm and Super16mm film (none of that fake digital stuff :-) ). To keep things real, the producers asked the Yanomamo leaders to be present during the entire filming — to ensure accuracy. It took 47 days of filming. A significant portion of the proceeds from the film (50% in fact) will directly benefit Yanomamo communities in Amazonas, Venezuela. Producers faced a ton of challenges, including government opposition, local resistance, and even poisonous snakes, but still overcame all odds to bring us a story of spiritual warfare, animistic practices, and the dominance of native religion among South and Central American tribespeople.
Hear me well: This is an intense film. You will want to watch it first, before showing it to your junior church. In fact — you might want to watch it first before showing it anywhere. It is sometimes graphic, sometimes heart-wrenching, but always engaging. My advice for professors of seminary classes looking for something related to spiritual warfare, anthropology, world religions, and Cross-cultural communications: Run, don’t walk, to order a copy. To anyone working in folk religions, you finally have an inside view to what goes on “inside their heads.” I can’t even put into words the “point of view” from which the story is told… because it seems to be totally Yanomamo… cross-cultural. I felt as if I was living inside the body of a Yanomamo tribesman. I spent much of my time fearing what might come next. Honest — this movie is stirring. If you have a missionary working among tribal peoples, this will give you a new perspective on prayer and its potential to make a difference. Don’t expect a heart-warming, feel-good story like something from a Disney kids’ film. Expect to be sobered. Expect to experience a perspective you’ve never felt before.
Sold complete with a companion study guide and 53 key questions to rock your world, The Enemy God is available from the companion website…
(Of all things, after everything they faced during production, makers of the film sent a gift to Brigada to encourage us onward. Thank you. Sobering.)