“I was a lonesome, frustrated traveller looking for my South American dream. Moving from one town to another, messing with wrong people, getting in trouble once in a while, when the jungle finally brought me to a place where, to my big surprise, people knew the name of my home country.” “Lithuanian? Yeah, one lived here a while ago.” That is how Lithuanian filmmaker Vytautas Puidokas describes his path towards an idea to take the story of Alexander Ferdinand Bendoraitis, a Lithuanian doctor who had created his own little kingdom among the people of the Amazon, to the silver screen.
Alexander Ferdinand Bendoraitis (1919 – 1998) was an exceptional persona: he spoke eight languages, collected millions for humanitarian purposes and was the only doctor in the western Amazon. In the civilised world Bendoraitis was compared to Albert Schweitzer, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King. The pope blessed him, and the President of Bolivia awarded him the military rank of ‘captain’ for his achievements. Puidokas soon discovered that Bendoraitis had created an entire empire in the heart of the Amazon: a radio station, a brick factory, a colony for indigenous people, and even a football team. Moreover, he was a priest, the first person in the jungle who had an air conditioner and definitely the only Eastern European who was regarded as Amazon Jungle god by locals.
He had a perfect background to be turned into hero. But what kept Puidokas interested as a filmmaker was the duality of this story. The overwhelming authority and becoming a god to someone. His story of triumph was soon overshadowed by various rumours, multiple identities and, finally, murder. Alexander Bendoraitis was swallowed by the jungle. But most of the people who surrounded him are still alive to tell the real story.
This is the story Puidokas is now after and asks for your help to do that on a crowdfunding page Indiegogo. For more thorough information on the project and to give the project some kick turn here.