A Glimpse Into the ’Tree Hugging’ Tree Sits
It’s been a controversial issue, to say the least.
And when one hears the term “tree huggers,” a cliché hippie stereotype may come to mind.
You know, the free spirited, dreadlocked white dude who flashes peace signs while wearing a ragged tie-dyed shirt.
Well, Among Giants, a short and well done documentary from the team over at Rainhouse Cinema and filmed in Humboldt, does its very best to throw away these conventions. For one, the film’s tree hugging protagonist, Farmer, is surprisingly reflective.
As he speaks, explaining his self-imposed tree sit struggle to save an ancient redwood grove in California, the expected platitudes of free love and
environmental rhetoric never come to the fore as one might guess.
Instead, his conversation is personal, intimate, and understated. His love of nature– his willingness to spend three years on a tiny platform a hundred feet up in the tree canopy– is simultaneously crazy and heroic and naively idealistic.
Shot in a particularly understated style in locations easily recognizable to us, Among Giants is as much a nature film as it is a socially conscious one of a contentious issue that has rankled Humboldt County over the past two decades.
Apart from select sections, the movie exists almost entirely without a musical score, opting instead for the ambient sounds of the forest. The result is serene and sublime.
As the film closes, we’re treated to gorgeous aerial cinematography, contrasting the beauty of the existing forestland with the destruction of logged over areas.
While the film would never stoop so low as to say it outright, it’s clear that the message is for us all to embrace individualism, to retreat back into the transcendental glory that nature can offer. And so Farmer and his comrades do just that— they patiently wait amongst the treetops, sitting peacefully to stop what they see as inherent destruction.
Among Giants screened at numerous festivals to surprise success, having won numerous awards.
Comprised of three extremely talented filmmakers—Sam Price-Waldman, Ben Mullinkosson, and Chris Cresci, the mission of Rainhouse Cinema is to make films that center around people and the environment.
Whatever your beliefs of environmentalism, activists, tree sits, logging, and clearcuts are, it is indeed a rare peek of what’s been going on– above the trees in Humboldt.
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