In the midst of California's coastal redwood region, Green Diamond Resource Company continues to clearcut redwood forests, devastating habitats and leaving scars across the land. Farmer, a ... See full summary »
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In the midst of California's coastal redwood region, Green Diamond Resource Company continues to clearcut redwood forests, devastating habitats and leaving scars across the land. Farmer, a direct action environmental activist in his late 20s, decides to tree-sit in the McKay Tract -- a 60-acre grove of ancient redwoods that is home to spotted owls, deer, flying squirrels, and countless other life forms. AMONG GIANTS begins three years into the McKay tree-sit. On his tiny platform a hundred feet up in the ancient redwood canopy, Farmer must battle the elements and avoid isolation as he fights for a sustainable future. The film uses a verite style that reflects the pace of life in the tree village and shows the forest from Farmer's perspective. As Farmer outlasts a vicious storm, counts the rings on a felled tree, and trumps through a recent clear cut, the film questions what it means to make personal sacrifices for a larger cause, and how a single person can affect real change in the ... Written by Sam Price-Waldman

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taking a stand - by sitting down

Genres:

Documentary | Short

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12 May 2011 (USA)  »

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(Dolby 5.1)

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16:9 HD
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A very well shot nature short for what it does well, even if I left little the wiser
2 March 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Although I am quite liberal, I must admit that bad experiences with people have very much put my back up against the traditional "tree- hugger" movement. While some make great sacrifices for what they believe, I do find that some of them seem to go to great lengths to show you how much better they are for it and rather than reaching out to the masses they seem to deliberately push away. Anyway, I say this up front just because this film is about one of the group of people who lived up the very top of giant redwood trees in an attempt to stop a logging company clearing them. The trees are hundreds of years old in most cases and even I can see the loss of destroying them to create products that may last a hundred years if they are lucky.

When watching shorts, I find it is sometimes unfair to watch without context as to what the goals of the film were but it is also difficult to always find that context due to the small nature of the films. In this case the film succeeds in giving us some beautiful nature shots (in particular some helicopter shots) but also giving us a feel for the isolation and boredom of the sacrifice. There is very little dialogue and generally the main noise is the constant drizzle on the tarpaulin and the wind howling by high in the trees. Farmer himself is quiet and doesn't say much and again this adds to the feeling. So on that front it works but the problem is that it doesn't really tell us too much. I am grateful that the film didn't get on its soapbox about the topic but just presented nature, but I would have liked some more information and would in particular have liked a bit more exploring of Farmer as a person, rather than just sitting back off him. What about him finds him up this tree, what are his plans, what of his family that he says he misses etc, it would have been nice to have some nuggets in there along with the silence.

So, as a nature short filled with images, silence and isolation it works really well, but it would have been nice to have left the short at least a little wiser about Farmer or at least the issues behind the film.


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