Warrior of Light

Germany 2001, 90 minutes, color, 35mm, Dolby SR, 2.704 metres, ratio 1:1:37, 25 frames shot on digital beta and mini-dv, transfer to 35mm. International festival version: English and Brazilian Portuguese with Engl. subtitles

Press kit (PDF, 0,1 MB)


WARRIOR OF LIGHT shot on location in Brazil is a feature-length documentary on Yvonne Bezerra de Mello, award-winning artist and human-rights activist who has gained international recognition for her work with street children in Rio. The film recounts how a woman turned her back on a wealthy lifestyle, driven into action by the execution of 8 streetkids by military police in 1993. In subsequent years Yvonne’s struggle to better the lives of endangered and abandoned children has led her to found Projeto Uere (Children of Light) a radical project committed to protection and education of kids who live in the streets and slums of Rio which has brought her into conflict with Brazil’s wealthy elite.


Yvonne Bezerra de Mello // Alvaro Bezerra de Mello // Isabel Loefgren // Lucia Cavalcanti Luciana Martha // Ayrton S. Ribeiro // Dr.Evelyn Eisenstein // Paolo Longo // Campos Amarylis Vianna // Fernanda Gorette // and: the children of Projeto Uere // featuring: Tiago // Vanessa // Jessica // Joice // Pamela


Camera: Elfi Mikesch // Editor: Andrew Bird // Original Music: Jack Motta // Sound: Andreas Pietsch // Assistant Director: Luciana Martha // PA: Sabine Linz, Manfred Geier // Sound Mix: Richard Borowski // Production Manager: Madeleine Dewald // Written, directed and produced by Monika Treut // Production Company: Hyena Films Hamburg // With support by Filmfoerderung Hamburg GmBH and Filmoffice NW e.V. // Special thanks to: Antje Landshoff, Jürgen Schaum of Chroma-TV,  Stiftung Umverteilen and Wibo de Groot


Toronto //  Montreal // Palm Springs // Berlin // Munich // Thessaloniki // Rio de Janeiro // Sao Paulo // Cambridge // Jerusalem // Taipei // Lisbon // Porto // New York // Hong Kong and others.


WARRIOR OF LIGHT explores both the difficulties and the beauties of activist work. Astutely political, intelligent, courageous and infinitely energetic, de Mello is a charismatic and inspirational subject for a documentary. As a documentary filmmaker, Treut consistently celebrates the vibrant spirits of her subjects without either sentimentalizing or aggandizing them, and thus allows the audience to share their essential humanity. Toronto Festival

Turning from cutting-edge sexual politics to urban social activism, Monika Treut profiles Rio de Janeiro-based human rights crusader Yvonne Bezerra de Mello in upbeat, inspirational docu WARRIOR OF LIGHT. Universally embraceable subject matter, coupled with helmer’s sterling rep as benevolent booster of humanistic pioneers, ensures strong fest demand, good arthouse biz and a healthy life in ancillary. Variety

WARRIOR OF LIGHT is a film which observes precisely and establishes connections. Elfi Mikesch’s camera shows how the slums are located within the city – as islands of poverty. The camera looks with Yvonne into the sad eyes of the street children. It shows how Yvonne gains the children’s trust, repect and love. Some of the children remain unforgettable, in both their joy and their sorrow. Some of the images, such as that of the emaciated little boy suffering from the Aids virus, bring a lump to the throat. Monika Treut has performed an extraordinary feat: she has made a sensitive, touching and illuminating film on a subject which often touches viewers only fleetingly in TV features. Süddeutsche Zeitung

…impressive and very touching. (4 of 5 stars) Der Stern

A fascinating documentary film ….as warm-hearted and and non-sentimental as its protagonist. Der Spiegel