Paraguay: Poisoned Fields
Filmed in Paraguay
Commissioned by France 5
A green ocean. This is how soybean fields look like in Paraguay, from above. A beautiful landscape, if only it weren’t toxic. To make room for its fields, the soybean industry kills the forests. That comes along with the application of pesticides that poison surrounding inhabitants. What kind of contaminants are the children exposed to around these poisoned fields? And who is responsible? To answer this question, Boudot and Denizo had to combine two fields that usually don’t get along: investigative journalism and science. Throughout the investigation, they worked hand in hand with Paraguayan scientists to set up an unprecedented study on genetic damages that affect children exposed to pesticides. With the help of European scientists, they also took soy, soil and water samples to try to trace the pollution right back to the source. The investigation drew the attention of the mainstream media in South America and has even made its way to the Paraguayan Senate, triggering a national debate about the situation.
Martin is based in Paris and has been an investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker for 11 years. He recently produced Green Warriors, a series of scientific investigations on environmental issues, broadcast on France 5, Al Jazeera and Amazon Prime and in 2017, he won the Best European Current Affair Program at the Prix Europa.
Mathias has been a director of photography for 14 years and has worked on many investigative documentaries about economic and social matters, from financial fraud to environmental issues. In 2017, he worked on the ICIJ Panama Papers project, which won the Pulitzer Prize for disclosing a worldwide tax fraud system.
“To me, this piece stood out from the rest… it was beautifully shot and having science at the heart of it gave it credibility… it ticked all the boxes.”