Anthropology students screen The Enemy God film

“You brought my people from miserable fear,” the main character of Yai Wanonabälewä: The Enemy God said in a prayer to God. On Nov. 6, there was a private screening of this not-yet-released film. It tells the story of the Yanomamo people of the Amazon and how they were able to reconcile their violent ways by beginning a relationship with God.

HHC 106 was packed with anthropology students and then some. After being introduced by Dr. Walter Hummer, the producer of The Enemy God, Matt Castagna, spoke to the group. He explained that his company, 10x Productions, usually did documentaries and things of that nature so producing a feature film was a new and different challenge.

This project first began as a response to a request by the Yanomami themselves to have their story told accurately. The Yanomami wanted their story to be told through their eyes and not the eyes of fortune-seeking white men. Castagna mentioned that he and everyone else on the team were very aware of the exploitative nature of some previous projects. He said they did their best to work with the Yanomami so that the film was from their viewpoint rather than those of missionaries or anthropologists.

Castagna said his team encountered many obstacles along the way but that in the end, “God provides,” and they were able to complete it. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the sale of this film will benefit the Yanomami.

The audience seemed to enjoy and understand the film, gasping and laughing at parts. It was a touching and poignant perspective of the contextualization of Christianity through the Yanomami spirit realm. Their shamanistic practices had paved a road straight to God, but, until the 1950s, they had feared following that road because their shamans’ spirits had warned them against it.

After the film was over, Castagna expressed his thanks to the audience for support and said, “For you missions and anthropology students, there are still about 200 unreached tribes left in the Amazon. Maybe you’ll get one.”

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