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Garden of Evil investigates Peter Blake's and other conservationists' deaths in the Amazon

by Mediawave 13 Nov 2021 21:37 NZDT 13 November 2021
Seamaster in the Amazon in 2001 - from Garden of Evil © Blakexpeditions

The Garden of Evil is an award winning documentary about Sir Peter Blake's murder, Captain Pete Bethune's knife attack and corruption in The Amazon.

Blake was but one of hundreds of conservationists killed for drawing international attention to what is happening with deforestation and illegal logging in the Amazon. Captain Pete Bethune, who came close to suffering the same fate as Blake, escorted the documentary crew as they filmed in the Amazon.

The documentary is written, produced and directed by Larry Keating whose work covers the America's Cup, and many other award winning documentaries in sport and other categories. Garden of Evil had its world premiere at the DocEdge Film Festival on 12 June at The Civic Theatre in Auckland, and has played to a packed house in a second film festival in Wellington.

This explosive story focuses on two prominent characters in the new world order of conservationists. Captain Pete Bethune an eco-warrior who escaped near-certain death in a 2017 attack in the Amazon, and Sir Peter Blake a United Nations Special Envoy for the environment, who was murdered aboard his research yacht Seamaster off Macapa at the mouth of the Amazon in 2001. Sadly they were just two of the thousands of conservationists who have been killed by the logging mafia.

Both Blake and Bethune were on independent missions sixteen years apart to bring about greater global awareness of the environmental importance of the Amazon rainforest and its labyrinth of waterways.

"The film exposes the threats of ruthless protectionism, greed, unbridled street crime and river piracy," explains Larry. "Sir Peter Blake and Pete Bethune are examples of the thousands who have suffered at the hands of organised criminals in the Amazon in recent years, in fact more than 200 guardians of the rainforest were murdered during the making of The Garden of Evil".

The film questions whether Blake and Bethune, as Brazilian authorities have led us to believe, were simply in "the wrong place at the wrong time" or were there more sinister reasons for the attacks and Blake's slaying? Three investigative journalists seeking answers and searching for the truth are led by renowned Professor of Criminology and BBC TV presenter Donal MacIntyre with Brazilian based Ciao Vilela and Sam Cowie.

For the very first time, in one of the two prison visits, the gunman is interviewed who fired the fatal shots that took Sir Peter's life.

What has taken five years to produce including months on-location filming in the Amazon, this privately funded production is ready for world-wide distribution and general theatrical release throughout New Zealand.

The Garden of Evil has been awarded 'Best Cinematography' at the 2021 Doc Edge Festival and selected at the Montreal Independent Film Festival.

This film revives the selfless purpose of why Blake and Bethune were in the Amazon. They went there to see firsthand the probable grim environmental future if nothing is done to control the destruction of the rainforest and the exploitation of its riches and to demonstrate to the world what really matters - we are all guardians of the rainforest.

To view the movie trailer and learn more about the film, please visit

Larry Keating has enjoyed a variety of media roles - from photographer to radio & TV presenter, to directing and producing documentaries and advertorials for broadcasters around the world, that included companies such as Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, Steinlager and BNZ. For more than 30 years he produced television sports programmes around that included inserts of interviews with celebrities and VIPs such as Britain's Royals to Nelson Mandela. He is noted for his America's Cup work, and assembled the largest archive of Cup images and video. He worked closely with America's Cup author and journalist, Bob Fisher on several major America's Cup projects.

Larry's prior media involvement included working as a globe - trotting reporter for radio networks all over the world, covering major events from the Fireworks World Champs in Monaco and France to nine America's Cup regattas and two Olympic Games (in Korea and Barcelona).

Cinema List - showing from November 4

With the exception of the Auckland and Waikato regions The Garden of Evil featuring the murder of Sir Peter Blake will be in selected cinema’s around New Zealand from November 4.

Due to the COVID 19 Level 3 lockdown restrictions, all cinema’s in Auckland and Waikato are closed until further notice

For screening times at the cinema’s listed here, please go to

  • Event Cinema Whangarei
  • Raglan Arts Centre
  • Tivoli Cinema
  • Event Tauranga
  • Rialto Cinemas
  • Tivoli Papamoa
  • Starlight Cinema Taupo
  • Dome Cinema Gisborne
  • Confluence Whanganui
  • Event New Plymouth
  • Event Havelock North
  • Circus Cinema Marlborough
  • Focal Point Palmerston
  • North Event Palmerston North
  • Event Paraparaumu
  • ShoreLine Cinema Waikanae
  • Gecko Motueka
  • Event Cinema Blenheim
  • Geraldine Cinema
  • Hollywood Theatre CHC
  • Rialto Cinemas Dunedin
  • Paradiso Cinema Wanaka
  • Academy Cinema Gold Christchurch