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National Geographic Documentary Films Acquires Sundance Documentary THE TERRITORY About Indigenous-Led Land Defense in the Amazon Rainforest

·7-min read

From Oscar®-Nominated Filmmakers Darren Aronofsky and Sigrid Dyekjaer and First Time Feature Director Alex Pritz

WASHINGTON, January 23, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Received with overwhelmingly positive praise after its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, National Geographic Documentary Films announced today that it has acquired the rights to the documentary THE TERRITORY.

Screening in the World Cinema Documentary competition, THE TERRITORY provides an immersive on-the-ground look at the tireless fight of the Indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people against the encroaching deforestation brought by illegal loggers and an association of nonnative farmers in the Brazilian Amazon. With awe-inspiring cinematography showcasing the titular landscape and richly textured sound design, THE TERRITORY draws audiences deep into the Uru-eu-wau-wau community while delivering unprecedented access to the other side of the conflict as loggers illegitimately clear land and a network of desperate farmers rally together, readying to colonize the protected rainforest.

Partially shot by the Uru-eu-wau-wau people, the film provides verité-style footage, captured over three years, as the activists risk their lives to set up their own news media team in the hopes of exposing the truth.

THE TERRITORY is the debut feature film from director Alex Pritz and has been co-produced by the Indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau community, with activist Txai Suruí onboard as an active executive producer. The project is produced by award-winning filmmaker Sigrid Dyekjaer (THE CAVE), Darren Aronofsky's Protozoa Pictures (THE WRESTLER, BLACK SWAN, WELCOME TO EARTH), and Passion Pictures (THE RESCUE), along with Will N. Miller, Lizzie Gillett and Gabriel Uchida. THE TERRITORY has been made by Documist, Associação Jupaú do Povo Uru-eu-wau-wau, Real Lava, Passion Pictures and Protozoa Pictures in association with TIME Studios and XTR with backing from Luminate and Doc Society.

Initial praise for THE TERRITORY was strong out of Sundance with Variety describing it as "urgent," "riveting" and "sharply crafted," while Indiewire praised it as "Gorgeously [and] ingeniously conceived," noting the film "[paints] an intimate first-hand portrait of joy, pain, and community, before bursting with rip-roaring intensity as it captures a high-stakes struggle for survival unfolding in the moment."

"THE TERRITORY is an urgent story of courage and resilience, beautifully told by first-time feature director Alex Pritz. We are honored to bring the story of the Uru-eu-wau-wau people to the world and help further the conversation and raise awareness around the endangered Amazon rainforest and its indigenous people," said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president of Global Scripted Content and Documentary Films for National Geographic. "We are equally excited to be working with our longtime friend Sigrid Dyekjaer whose talent for shepherding stories of impact and advocacy is unprecedented and with our frequent collaborator Darren Aronofsky, a visionary storyteller with an unmatched eye for breakthrough talent."

Additionally, the team behind THE TERRITORY will launch an impact campaign with the goal of elevating Indigenous voices and fighting deforestation through nature and community-based solutions. Among multiple tactics and partnerships, they will support global Indigenous-led efforts to hold the international community accountable for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and cessation of violence against land defenders worldwide.

THE TERRITORY producers brokered the deal with the National Geographic Documentary Films team.

National Geographic Documentary Films will release THE TERRITORY theatrically later this year before the film heads to its streaming platforms.

About National Geographic Documentary Films

National Geographic Documentary Films is committed to bringing the world premium, feature documentaries that cover timely, provocative and globally relevant stories from the very best documentary filmmakers in the world. National Geographic Documentary Films is a division of National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between Disney and the National Geographic Society. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 134 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.


Founded in 2005, Doc Society supports a network of independent storytellers with direct grants and editorial expertise throughout the life of their film and impact campaigns. To date we have helped fund more than 500 award winning projects including: CITIZENFOUR, An Insignificant Man, Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Edge Of Democracy, The Look Of Silence, The White Helmets, Whose Streets, Virunga, Softie, Roll Red Roll and The Silence of Others. In 2021, Doc Society launched the Climate Story Fund to support compelling storytelling from around the world that move us closer to a climate just and biodiverse future.


Documist brings together cinema and journalism to create original documentaries with a humanist spirit. Founded in 2014, Documist is based in New York and Toronto and has produced nonfiction films in over 30 countries. The team has produced and directed documentaries that have played at Sundance, IDFA, Tribeca, TIFF and SXSW. THE TERRITORY is Documist’s first feature film.


Luminate is a global philanthropic organisation focused on empowering people and institutions to work together to build just and fair societies. We work with our partners to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in and to shape the issues affecting their societies, and to make those in positions of power more responsive and accountable.


Passion is an Academy Award-winning independent production studio that creates and tells incredible stories. Passion has produced over 90 documentaries including One Day in September, Searching for Sugarman, Listen to me Marlon and most recently Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story and The Rescue. Passion’s Oscar and Bafta winning work with partners including Netflix, National Geographic, Showtime and the BBC has been elected at Sundance, Telluride, Tribeca and festivals worldwide.


Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures is a film and television production company based in NYC. Their credits include Aronofsky’s π, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, THE FOUNTAIN, THE WRESTLER, BLACK SWAN, NOAH, MOTHER! and his upcoming film THE WHALE; as well as JACKIE, WHITE BOY RICK, SOME KIND OF HEAVEN, and PACIFIED. Upcoming features include CATCH THE FAIR ONE and THE GOOD NURSE. Their TV credits include ONE STRANGE ROCK and WELCOME TO EARTH for NatGeo. Upcoming TV credits include KINDRED for FX, LIMITLESS for NatGeo, and BLACK GOLD for Paramount+.


Real Lava is a new Danish Production company. Founded by Newen Studios and the Oscar nominated producer Sigrid Dyekjaer, the company is focused on producing ambitious, cinematic documentary films and series. Sigrid Dyekjaer is a multi-award-winning producer who has made 30 documentary features in the past 23 years. Her most recent credits include Feras Fayyad’s "The Cave" which was nominated for an Oscar and won Emmy, Peabody and Cinema Eye awards. Real Lava’s upcoming films include "Merkel", a portrait about Angela Merkel and female leadership directed by Eva Weber and co-produced by the Academy Award winning Passion Pictures. "The Territory" is the first film in the newly founded Real Lava.


From one of the most globally iconic brands, TIME Studios is an Emmy Award®-winning television, film and immersive studio focusing on the development, production and distribution of truth-based premium unscripted and scripted storytelling that moves the world. With technical innovation and a brand defining visual language that dates back 98 years, TIME Studios aims to impact communities and the world at large with ideas that forge true progress. Combining the industry’s leading creators with TIME, one of the most trusted brands that reaches an audience of over 100 million people globally, TIME Studios is uniquely positioned to bring massive audiences to the world’s most impactful stories.

XTR is a global nonfiction entertainment studio. XTR works with outstanding creators to produce, distribute, finance and develop documentary films, series, and podcasts for all platforms. With a focus on audience appeal and a commitment to artistry, the award-winning studio uses a data-driven strategy to inform all phases of the filmmaking process. Since its inception in 2019, XTR has produced and financed over 80 documentary features and series. In 2021, XTR films have received more awards nominations than any other studio working in nonfiction. XTR - based on a true story.

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For press inquiries, please contact:
Adam Kersh, 917-426-8866,
Emma Myers, 917-426-8866,

For National Geographic Documentary Films:
Felicia Wong, 310-962-8587,
Kristin Montalbano, 202-912-3244,

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