The Wild Coast: An Exploration of the Guianas

UPDATE 6/14/2018: The Wild Coast was remastered and released in three parts on June 14, 2018. Take a look at the newest remastered version here

The following was entered in 2014:

The Wild Coast Documentary Film is a physical, historical and philosophical exploration of the Guianas, the three countries that make up the northeast of South America. These unique, non-Spanish speaking countries, are still wild and untamed. The main theme of our film on the Guianas is freedom. Freedom has both been trampled on and clinged-to--at very great costs.

The film explores what happened at Jonestown, where more than 900 people died during a mass suicide/murder, led by US cult leader Jim Jones in 1973. It further explores the freedom-loving Maroon people of Suriname who were brought as slaves from Africa, but rebelled against their slave owners establishing their own communities in the jungle and fighting back against their former slave masters. This group later would fight against the Marxist dictator president of Suriname, Dési Bouterse during the Suriname Guerilla War. And finally we explore the penal system in French Guiana, specifically Henri Charrière and his book Papillon, the greatest story of prison escape ever told. We retrace several of his escapes, including his first to Trinidad and his last to Venezuela, with a a final glorious look at Angel Falls in the Canaima National Park.

List of Credits below images

The following are stills taken during production:
Georgetown, Guyana

Port Kaituma & Jonestown, Guyana

Kaieteur Falls, Guyana

Moiwana & Albina, Suriname

St. Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana

San Fernando Hill, Trinidad

Devil's Island, French Guiana (Iles du Salut)

Caracas, Venezuela

Angel Falls, Venezuela (Canaima National Park)

Evergreen Cemetery, Oakland, California

The Taylors, La Jolla, California


A Film by David Whalen

Produced by
Richard Taylor

Written, Directed, Filmed and Edited by
David Whalen

In order of appearance
Richard Taylor
Fitz Duke
(Cameo by Filmmaker David Whalen)
Wynne Taylor
Allan Greene
Colin Benjamin
Martina Amoska
Henry Djoe-Kastiel
Ma Atema Jintoena
Lauréne Priou
Emma Lozano

Special Thanks
Karen Taylor
Vanessa Snider
The Bluefish Concierge
Wilderness Explorers
Antonio Hitcher
Oswaldo Luna Arciniegas
Laura Kohl
Fielding McGehee
Rebecca Moore
The Jonestown Institute
The People of Moiwana
Monsieur le Maire
Monsieur Léon Bertrand
Mairie de Saint-Laurent du Maroni
Service Patrimoine
Mortimer Kansinaley
Mike & Paula Colarusso

Kickstarter Donors
Robert Taylor
Frank Brennan
Peter Tutelaers
Joshua Garcia
The Kneier Family
The Faggioni Family
The Cavalcanti Family

Research Sources
Papillon, by Henri Charriére © 1969
Published by Harper Collins
Translated by June P. Wilson and Walter B. Michaels

The Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge,
by John Gimlette © 2011, Alfred A. Knopf, New York

A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception,
and Survival at Jonestown, by Julia Scheeres © 2012, Free Press

Jonestown, The Life & Death of Peoples Temple
American Experience PBS © 2006

The Cayenne Guillotines

Film, Audio Tape & Book Excerpts
Papillon, by Henri Charriére © 1969
Published by Harper Collins
Translated by June P. Wilson and Walter B. Michaels

Papillon, A Franklin J. Schaffner Film, with Vintage Featurette
The Magnificent Rebel, by Eleuthyra Films, Warner Bros. © 1973

The White Diamond,  Werner Herzog © 2004, Marco Polo Film AG

The Jonestown Death Tape (FBI No. Q 042), November 18, 1978

All songs courtesy of The Music Bed, LLC
Always Smiling, by Dexter Britain
Twelve Labors, by Spirit of Spain
To Become Immortal, And Then Die, by Spirit of Spain
Belka, by Spirit of Spain
Rise, by Tony Anderson
Spirit (Extended Ambient Mix), by Tony Anderson
This is Space, by Windsor Airlift
Rivers Run, by SA
That Empty Space, by SA
Looking for Comfort, by Ryan Taubert

People's Temple and Jonestown
The following are courtesy of the Jonestown Institute
The People's Temple, San Francisco, 1970s
Tapes, Jonestown, November 19, 1978
Port Kaituma Airport, November 18, 1978
Jonestown Radio Tower, 1979
Jim Jones and Children, Redwood Valley, 1972

The following are from an FBI FOIA Request by the Jonestown Institute
Several images of the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project
Several images of Port Kaituma airstrip shoot out, 1978
Newsweek cover, 1978
The Houston family in Jonestown, 1978
Ryan with Houston family, November 18, 1978
Reporters in Jonestown (Ryan delegation), November 18, 1978
Military landing, 1978
Jim Jones speaking, 1978
Henry Mercer and young people, 1978
Military helicopter landing in Jonestown, 1978
Plastic baby, 1978

The following are from the U.S Army all shot by photographer
SSGT. Jose L. Sanchez on November 20, 1978
Aerial view of Jonestown tragedy
US military placing remains into body bags
A member of the US Army sprays disinfectant over the bodies
US Air Force helicopter assists in the removal of the remains
US military and volunteers offload remains of victims from helicopter
US military remove body bag from a truck
US military place a body bag in a coffin for transport
US military stack the remains onto a pallet for shipment
Lt. Colonel Leonard Morrisey examines a poster found at the compound

Other Jonestown Sources
Frame-grabs from deceased Bob Brown, NBC, November 18, 1978
Jim Jones with Parks family as they indicate defection
Frame of only video taken of attack at the Port Kaituma airstrip

The following are courtesy of Tropenmuseum Royal
Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Portrait of three Maroon men and a child in Suriname, 1910-1935
Object # 10024950
Portrait of a group of Maroons, 1900-1928
Object #10019525
Maroon schoolchildren in a dug-out at Moengo Tapoe, 1904-1937
Object # 60006386
A group of Maroons poses with canoes, 1895-1915
Object # 60046994
Group portrait with Aukaner Maroon children in Manlobbi, 1919
Object # 10031754
A group of Maroons ready for the start of a regatta with canoes
on Rikanau-Creek near Moengo, 1904-1937
Object # 60043563
Village scene with Maroon children, 1920
Object # 60006027
Portrait of a group of Maroons, 1880-1900
Object # 60012336
Maroons engaged in manufacturing of an image ritual, 1920
Object # 60005968

Other Sources
Ronnie Brunswijck and Jungle Commandos
Source: (original source unknown)
President Boutourse
Source: Wikipedia
Body of Maroon child brought before medicine man, 1955
& Maroon village, Suriname River, 1955
Source: John Hill (Wikipedia)

French Guiana
The following are courtesy of Wikipedia
Papillon Book Cover
Henri Charrière
Napolean III
Quartier - Disciplinaire, St. Laurent
& Condemned men's block, St. Laurent
John Hill, 1954

The Cayenne Guillotines

Alfred Dreyfus, obj 20430368 (old image: Ullstein Bilderdienst, Berlin)
Dreyfus a Ile du diable
Image du Petit Journal - Affaire Dreyfus 1887

Français : Image du Petit Journal - Affaire Dreyfus.
« Alfred Dreyfus dans sa prison »
20 January 1895
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Author: Fortuné-Louis Méaulle et Lionel Royer

The following images are courtesy of Collection A. Heuret
Félix, Cayenne (1920)
Bateau d'évadés au large de Porto-Rico (1937)
Cimetière des Iles du Salut (1910-1920)
Une corvée de forçats à l'Ile St. Joseph (1910-1920)
St. Laurent, Radeau de l'Administration Pénitentiaire (1908)
Construction de la route St. Laurent - Mana par des forçats (1920's)
Léproserie de l'Acarouany - Le débarcadère et la maison principale (1910-1915)

St. Laurent du Maroni Archives
Francis Lagrange photos of paintings:
Guillotine & Prisoners being dumped to the sharks

Paris Match, 1969: Papillon Returns to the Bagne (article with pictures)

All images, video clips and quotations, either in the public domain,
pursuant to creative commons license, or claimed under fair use doctrine.

Google Earth Pro © 2014
Grant courtesy of Google for Non-Profits

Filmed in the following locations
California                        Guyana
Mt. Soledad                    Port Kaituma  
La Jolla                           Jonestown
Oakland                          Georgetown
                                       Kaieteur Falls

Suriname                         French Guiana
Paramaribo                      St. Laurent du Maroni
Moiwana                          Îles du Salut
Moengo                           Korou
Albina                              Cayenne

Venezuela                        Trinidad & Tobago
Caracas                            San Fernando                   
Angel Falls
Canaima National Park

Principal Photography by David Whalen
Additional Photography by Wynne Taylor
Panasonic GH3 Camera
GoPro Hero 3 Black
DJI Phantom Quadcopter
Adobe Premiere Pro

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