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AP reveals how an Amazon chief and Belgian filmmaker’s friendship devolved into accusations

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AP freelancer Diane Jeantet spent months building sources and conducting interviews to trace the declining friendship between Amazonian Indigenous activist Chief Raoni and Belgian filmmaker Jean-Pierre Dutilleux.

At the Cannes Film Festival, they appeared close during the screening of Dutilleux’s film about their decades-long partnership. Despite Dutilleux being Raoni’s gatekeeper abroad, AP’s Rio de Janeiro bureau received a tip suggesting a crumbling relationship.

Jeantet’s investigation uncovered not only Dutilleux withholding funds raised in Raoni’s name but also revealed a darker truth: Raoni continued working with Dutilleux despite suspicions, desperate to raise awareness about illegal deforestation and mining threatening his people. Jeantet’s reporting offered a unique vehicle to convey a compelling story about the perils of seeking help for Amazon preservation.

The package Jeantet produced represented collaboration between international news and global investigations teams, complemented by embedded video clips of interviews and a social video featuring Jeantet explaining her story.

For digging deep into a story that resonated widely, Jeantet wins this week’s first Best of the Week honorable mention.

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