Why you should care
Because the far-off lands in rising Brazil are part of the story too.
Brazil’s youngest state, Tocantins, is not exactly the world’s most popular vacation spot. Travelers who come through for Rio or São Paulo would miss this small agricultural territory, far off the beaten path, known in part for its lush, gold-colored grass which artists turn into jewelry and coasters and other trinkets. Here, on the edge of the Amazon and savanna alike, the natural world reigns: rivers, streams, valleys, forests, the cerrado (big, Kansas-like fields).
What brought us to Tocantins is an attraction that, like the state, falls under the tourist radar. While the rest of the world is gearing up for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, people here anxiously await the first-ever World Indigenous Games in October. After exploring over 3,000 miles of five different regions of Tocantins, the result was Lagoa de Confusao: Wanderlandia — translated as “Confusion Lake: Wonderland” — a documentary work about the lives of everyday people in this state that’s only been around since 1989. In this region where, 200 years ago, residents attempted to secede, momentum is picking up. Migrants are arriving in search of agricultural opportunities, a railway line has been promised. But until then, this place remains quieter than the rest of rising Brazil. In this stillness, we found our story.