Adrian Cowell was a British filmmaker, born in Tongshan, China. He was best known for producing documentaries about Chico Mendes and deforestation in the Amazon and the opium/heroin trade out of the Shan States, Burma.
While a student at Cambridge Cowell planned the 1954 Oxford and Cambridge Trans-Africa Expedition, took part in the 1955-6 Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition to Singapore, and the 1957-8 Oxford and Cambridge Expedition to South America. It was while on the latter expedition team Cowell met the Villas-BÃ´as brothers and left the Oxford and Cambridge Expedition to join them on the Centro Geographico Expedition to find the geographical centre of Brazil. This was the beginning of his connection with South America and in particular, Brazil.
He was awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Cherry Kearton Medal and Award in 1985. In his obituary in The Guardian, Anthony Hayward wrote that he was "one of the most successful" documentary makers of his generation. His documentaries about the rain forest brought the subject significant political attention.