For 10 days, 15 passionate writers, artists and filmmakers will be submerged in the density of the Peruvian Amazonas and the lives of the local Shawi. Guided by a diverse Team of acclaimed international creatives and Peruvian indigenous leaders, participants will be exposed to the raw nature of the rainforest, conflicting forces impacting indigenous communities and sustainable activities to address climate change.

Each participant will develop a short provocation/artwork under the guidance and supervision of the Team. Unlike other workshops, the local inhabitants will not be mere characters in these stories but will serve as mentors, project collaborators and cultural mediators. The process of creation will require some form of partnership between local and international storytellers in defining, style, method, message and culture.

The workshop will take place in various setting including the urban river-based culture of Iquitos, the tropical rainforest surroundings of the Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve, and the facilities of Formabiap‘s indigenous bi-lingual education centre at Zúngarococha. Due to the geographical characteristics of the zone, mobility is made exclusively in motorboats and by foot to delve into the tropical jungle.

All accommodations, meals and logistics are included in the workshop enrollment fee and arranged by the Team. Given the diversity of locations, accommodation will range from comfortable river lodges to rough field camps in the rainforest itself. Transportation will be predominantly by canoe and participants should carry daily essentials/equipment in the dry bags provided as part of the Field Kit.

The workshop is eminently practical, so it is essential that participants are autonomous and have knowledge of their own artistic process as well as have access to their own necessary tools and equipment.

The fieldwork will be enriched with daily Master Classes and dialogues concerning the principal challenges that the storyteller has to face in various phases of creation. Each mentor will share his/her own method of working, style and technique with the writers, artists and filmmakers of the workshop.

For participants to take full advantage of the ten days, they will be provided with a workshop field kit for them to familiarize themselves prior to arrival. The Field Kit, that comes with a dry sack to protect essentials during fieldwork, includes equipment, materials and all the basic information needed to allow participants an easy plunge into creation and inspiration.

To protect the well being of the participants and the conservation of the wide array of fauna and flora, daily destination groups of 3 – 5 participants, freely chosen, will be constituted. Each team will be accompanied by a local guide.

“The people’s gestures are unfamiliar, gentle and lovely; they move their hands like orchestral conductors in time with a soft, shy melody that emanates cautiously from the depths of the forest, like wild creatures that emerge from the sheltering leaves now and then to go down to the rivers”

Werner Herzog


To ensure participants get the most out of mentoring while allowing time and space to develop their own artwork, the workshop will be organized around two distinct phases: Inspiration (Masterclass) & Creation (Artists’ Residence).


For the first five days of the workshop, we will follow a fixed format designed to reinforce each stage of the process: inspiration, creation and presentation.

Mentors will begin each day with a provocation based on their own experience and method. This will establish a theme for the entire day’s excursions and exercises. Evening discourses by our storytellers or participants will close the circle by presenting stories derived from that day’s theme and exercises. These ‘stories’ may take the form of sketches, artefacts, narrative, poetry, film or other art forms.


The last day of the masterclass portion will be dedicated to defining a body of work to develop individually or in self-organized, collaborative teams. Mentors will meet with participants to help focus and plan the next 5 days in order to ensure that the work is realizable given the time constraints. Examples follow:


  • a collection of poetry or prose;
  • character/culture studies for a future manuscript;
  • a script or narrative to develop in collaboration with participant filmmakers or artists;
  • interviews to develop into journalistic/humanistic articles;
  • personal travelogue/blog stories;


  • portraits, including detail sketches for a future series or single masterwork;
  • plein d’air studies (sketches, photos & details) to develop into paintings or sculptures;
  • scenography for collaboration with participant filmmaker or writer;
  • graphic novel pairing up with a writer;
  • culture study of colours, textures, patterns or people;
  • contemporary artworks drawing inspiration from mythology;
  • environment or traditions of the local indigenous or rainforest;


  • treatment and teaser to support a feature film proposal
  • a short documentary film
  • an art/music video
  • a video travelogue
  • a reportage highlighting issues impacting the rainforest and indigenous communities
peruvian amazon rainforest storytelling workshop daily program.

To download a workshop information packet complete with the detailed program itinerary and application, please see the Open Call. If you do not see your medium of choice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.



To speak about Loreto, the Amazon region of Peru is to speak about authentically indigenous and mestizo populations, about ancestrally inalienable territories, that is, about indigenous, rural, and urban cultures. Iquitos moves between the traditional and the modern; various places in Iquitos echo the history and world views of these indigenous peoples, interwoven within the different urban societies.


No roads lead to Iquitos. Situated in the middle of the Peruvian rainforest, on the Amazon, Nanay and Itaya Rivers, the area is accessible to the outside world only by plane or boat. It is essentially an island, surrounded by jungle instead of the sea. From a distance, it’s easy to build fantasies about such a place — to meld tropical mythologies into a sensual utopia. Iquitos is where Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo dreamt of an opera paradise.

Its remoteness has fostered a unique culture. Europeans have been in the area since early Spanish colonial times, but the full weight of foreign influence and exploitation did not hit Iquitos until the rubber boom of the 19th century. As the city developed under the amoral eye of capitalism, indigenous traditions remained stronger, and Catholic customs weaker, than in much of Peru.

Today, Iquitos is the meeting point for opposing desires. There is the outsider’s desire for an isolated tropical paradise complete with beautiful ‘natives’. And there is the local’s desire for self-realization, free sexual expression, and connection with the world at large. (from “The Pink and Gold Jungle”)


The Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve is a protected area in Peru located southwest of Iquitos in the Loreto Region, Maynas Province. The Nanay River flows through the northern part of the reserve.

It was created in 1999 and covers an area of 142,272 acres. The Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve contains 500 varieties of trees per 2.5 acres, more than anywhere else on Earth, and nearly 100 unique plant species.

There are over 1,900 flora species; 475 bird species; 143 species of reptiles; 71 species of amphibians; more than 90 species of parasitic wasps; and more butterfly species than any other site in the world. More than 500 species of animals over 2.5 centimetres in length were found in a three-quarter hectare area of the Reserve.

The rainforest in the Reserve is composed of several soil types – ranging from rare white quartz sands to red clays – and each of these soil types supports a unique community of plants and animals. Three species of endangered primates are found within the reserve, and for two of them, the Yellow-handed Titi Monkey, and the Equatorial Saki Monkey, the Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve is the only place in Peru where these monkeys and their habitat have been officially protected.

Walking past the enormous lianas, stumbling over the impressive roots of 40-metre trees and hearing echoing calls of invisible animals ringing through the trees, we could feel the spirit of the jungle around us.

Stopping to rest and cool down in the many streams that are the veins holding the lifeblood of the jungle, we could see the water glistening red in the sun, coloured by the leaves floating slowly by us as we sat.

The sunsets that greeted our return to the lodge after a day of work offered yet another amazing sight, the colours of the land melting into one another as the fading light draped itself over the land. It is a fleeting moment but one that must be seen to be believed.

The nights offered something different still, a counterpoint to the brightness of the days where the noises and the movements of the nocturnal animals around us created an entirely new atmosphere in the jungle to be explored.



In the Peruvian Amazon, Formabiap has been a steady force for the advancement of intercultural bilingual education in a country where there are still many inequalities for indigenous peoples. Working hand in hand with indigenous organizations, communities and allies, Formabiap celebrates its 30 years training teachers from indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon.

Formabiap’s Educational Community Zungarococha (CEZ) is located between the road Quistococha-Corrientillo penetration and the shores of Lake Zungarococha, one of the arms of the Nanay River. Located 45 minutes from the city of Iquitos, it comprises an area of ​​19 hectares, 14 of which are covered by recovering forests, managed and cared for by workers and field technicians, teachers and students of different indigenous peoples.

In Zungarococha you can see the various bird species typical of the region, found in well-reforested forests of the educational community, a shelter that allows them to survive. In this way, you can observe the bocholocho or paucar (Psarocolius decumanus), to the victor diaz (Great Kiskadee), to the sui sui (blue-grey tanager), to the Shihuango (yellow-headed caracara) or Catalan or kingfisher (Ceryle torquatus), and some species of monkeys, among others.

Similarly, you can find the rich biodiversity of plant species, many of them recovered by teachers and the team responsible for the CEZ. Over 30 years, they have recovered a number of species that have disappeared almost entirely in other areas of the region. We can find timber and medicinal trees such as mahogany ( Swietenia macrophylla), cedar (Cedrela odorata), the screw (Cedrelinga catenaeformis), lupuna (Chorisia insignis HBK), grade blood (Croton lechleri), among other wood species. There are also different species of fruit such as macambo (Theobroma bicolour), Copoazu (Theobroma grandiflorum), aguaje (mauritia Flexuosa), grapefruit (Citrus paradasi), among others.

“We believe that through education we can generate change, but only with quality education, an education for indigenous peoples.”

Never Tuesta, Coordinator of FORMABIAP
Equipment & Materials

Equipment & Materials

The workshop is eminently practical, so it is essential that participants are autonomous and have knowledge of their craft, as well as have access to their own personal tools and equipment. In the rainforest, you can expect rains at any time of the year. It is essential to keep your gear covered to ensure that sudden rainfall doesn’t impact the remainder of your trip.


30 days prior to your departure, you will receive at no additional charge the Workshop Field Kit designed by Real Lives, valued €500. It is essential that you familiarize yourself with the tools and information included, in order to get the most out of your experience. The Field Kit includes:

  • Day Pack: A waterproof, dry sack to serve as your day pack to protect important documents, equipment, art supplies, etc.
  • Virtual Idea Book: The Osmo Pocket 4 K personal recorder will help you capture ideas, inspiration, subjects, ambience and if you like, a travelogue.
  • Physical Idea Book: Heavy paper, a hardcover and an elastic binding is perfect to hold sketches, notes, mementoes and stories for future work.

Recommended Equipment

Portability and durability should be strongly considered in selecting what to bring. As we may not have access to electricity during daily excursions, low energy equipment and battery backup chargers are recommended. Laptops and other equipment left behind will be stored in locked peli cases.

Provided Equipment

In addition to a 4k cinema camera and a computer equipped with editing programs, the workshop will make available to participants on request with a 4k drone, 4k waterproof action cam, boom mic, a wireless mic kit and/or portable audio recorder.

Food, Lodging & Logistics

Food, Lodging & Logistics

Unlike most touristic experiences, the workshop has been designed to offer participants an authentic and pervasive immersion. The diet and accommodations have been specifically chosen to reinforce this in-depth and personal experience of the people, nature and places of the Peruvian Amazon: sharing their lives on their terms.

While every endeavour has been made to mitigate discomfort, authenticity over luxury has been the overriding criteria in selection.


We’ll be staying at river and rainforest eco-lodges in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. Typically, bedrooms are thatched bungalows on raised wooden platforms with mosquito netting, each with a private bathroom and a porch. Air conditioning is not available nor ecologically sustainable..

Hammock sleeping, which is favoured in the region, is also recommended, especially for those planning onward travel by ‘lanchas’. These are the boats that carry dozens to hundreds of people to and from Iquitos and towns along the Amazon and major tributaries. Relaxing in a swaying hammock is also a lot more comfortable than sitting on a hard bench for a full day and is quite handy for artists sketching in the rainforest.

We recommend cotton hammocks which come in a variety of sizes and are good choices for backpackers travelling on boats and sleeping in rural lodges. They are bulkier than ones made of synthetic materials, but they are the most comfortable. They are also warmer – a nice asset in chilly nights in the Amazon. The best quality cloth hammocks are made in Brazil, but all types can be bought in Peru.


Food in the Amazon is full of exotic delicacies. Chonta or palm tree heart salad is a delicious entrée. Meats and plantains are ever present in the main dishes, like grilled banana plantains (tacacho) with deep-fried beef (cecina) served with chopped onions and dried meat, or stuffed bananas, a banana dough stuffed with beef and peanuts.

Fowl, fish and wild meat are indispensable ingredients in preparing “juanes” (rice dough stuffed with chicken and wrapped in banana leaves for cooking), grilled “picuro” (delicious wild meat), “apishado” or pork cooked in a peanut and corn sauce, and “patarashca” fish wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over a fire.

Soups include “inchicapi” chicken soup with peanuts, coriander and manioc and “carachama” fish soup cooked also with banana plantain and coriander.

Aguajina is a refreshing drink made from the “aguaje” a jungle fruit, while “masato” is a fermented manioc and sugar beer. “Chuchuhuasi” is a fermented beer made from the chuchuhuasi root, “uvachado” is prepared with grapes and “chapo” is a cooked banana, water and milk beverage.

Source: Peru Mucho Gusto.


When thinking of getting around in Amazonia, river transport probably comes to mind. Being home to the longest river in the world, with countless tributaries, it is certainly true that a myriad of boats – ranging from dugout canoes to narrow peke-peke speedboats to luxury cruise ships.

There’s no better way of exploring the Amazon River than by actually being on it, looking out at the dense rainforest. You’ll see river dolphins if you’re lucky, and you’ll pass by some amazing floating villages.

And yet, when stepping out of the airport in Iquitos, you will be struck by the sight – and sound – of another form of transport: the moto-taxi, which will generally outnumber cars by at least five to one. The most common is the converted motorcycle with the bench seat in the rear. It also has a rack behind the seat for luggage, cargo … and occasionally further humans.

During the workshop, transfers to and from locations will be done by means of the river. Daily outings will, typically, be in motorised or paddle canoes or by foot in the rainforest. Nonetheless, a ride in the back of a moto-taxi through Amazonian scenery, be it urban or rural, is an exhilarating and authentic slice of Peruvian life.



Fees & Conditions

No. There will be no refunds of amounts paid, so we highly recommend trip interruption or cancellation insurance.

Proceeds from the workshop will be used to support Voces Indígenas Pilot Project (Peru): Empowering indigenous youth through Documentary Filmmaking.

No, due to the schedule and the complexity of logistics we cannot allow for individual booking.

No. Due to limited accommodation and the complexity of logistics, we cannot open up the program to travellers.

International or domestic flights to Iquitos, personal snacks and drinks, visa costs, travel insurance.

All accommodations – 11 nights.
Three daily meals for 10 days.
Availability of drinking water 24h.
Iquitos Airport Transfers.
Local Transportation in motorboat/canoe/vehicle for location visits and excursions.
Local Guides – translators.
Use of specialized equipment including drones, audio recording and field cameras.
Individual Field Kits (Value €500): 1 DJI Osmo Pocket, 1 art-quality sketchbook, 1 USB with background information, and 1 dry sack to protect your gear.

Selected participants will receive detailed instructions on payments by e-mail.

The tuition is € 5000.- to be paid in two instalments. The deposit of € 2500.-needs to be paid by 20th of April 2020. The final tuition payment of another €2500.- is due by 11th of May 2020.


No, we are not going to “visit” any typical sights, because we are seeking to immerse in the daily, authentic culture. If you would like to do a classic city trip, please do so on your own arriving early or after the workshop has ended.

Please check with the embassy of your country of residence/citizenship and allow sufficient time to arrange one, if necessary. The costs for visa applications are to be covered by the applicants themselves. Failure to secure a visa will not be grounds for a refund, so please check with your embassy.


There are shelters, but there aren’t studios or production facilities per se, so whatever tools and habits you bring to work with are subject to the exigencies of the weather and the isolation of the rainforest, which imposes some real, but potentially healthy, limitations.

That depends on your work process.

We highly encourage participants to use this experience as the base for a body of works, a series, as inspiration and method for future works. Participants will, however, follow through one story / idea / concept from beginning to end, and may have a final draft or even finished result at the end of the workshop.

You may go home with a series of sketches, a short film, a small series of poems, a finished drawing, a woven necklace, sufficient footage for a feature film, a collage made of plants, a series of photos to base your future work on, interviews to base a character on…

Yes, the workshop is also an art residency, therefore we are planning for and encouraging participants to do their own research, creation and exploration in accordance with the team of instructors. Inspiration needs time and immersion on your own.

Up to 15.

Other than the supplied Field Kit you will have access to specialized film equipment including drones, audio recording and field cameras. If you have any other special requirements please indicate in your application what you need and we will see what we can arrange.

Anything that you might require for your own process. Please consider, that we will change locations and accommodations several times, and you should be able to carry all necessary tools and materials with you in a backpack and/or the supplied dry pack.

Selected participants will be notified on the 06th of April, 2020 by e-mail.

Yes, you can. The workshop is open to visual artists of any medium. Prior to the workshop, the participants will receive a Field Kit with a 4k Osmo Pocket camera, in order to make themselves familiar with its use as a visual idea book. Unless you are a filmmaker, you are not required to use it in your final work.

Professional visual artists and passionate amateurs of any medium, filmmakers, photographers writers, poets. There are no age restrictions but please consider, that a good level of physical and mental health is required. Advanced students can apply, if they are at a level of mastery in their own medium. The workshop is not suited to beginners.

No, it is subject to selection. Selected participants will be notified on the 06th of April, 2020 by e-mail. We may contact some of the applicants for further questions.

It is a workshop that allows for a residency experience. We are making sure, that there is sufficient time for individual excursions, exploration and inspiration. There is no formal final presentation or exhibition, though any results will be shared with the other participants and the team.

Load More