Since taking our first breath of their oxygen, humans have had a longstanding and crucial relationship with trees. As our very earliest technology, wood provided the fuel, shelter, and transportation that led to our propagation across the globe. Yet still we endlessly push nature aside, surrounding ourselves more and more in a world of our own creation. Humans stepped foot on the moon a good twenty years before we climbed our way into the rainforest canopies. Owing to the blinders of our technology, we’ve lost sight of the fact that we, too, are part of the natural world.
The oldest living tree is 4000 years old, while the oldest living person is 120. What would the relationship between the species look like if we slowed down and inhabited an alternate viewpoint? Is it a healthy symbiotic relationship based on reciprocity? Are we humans giving back as much as we take?
Let’s look at things with new eyes. By borrowing the wisdom of people who’ve shunned the distractions and comforts of glowing screens and prepackaged viewpoints, we can gain valuable, unforgettable insights.
Each episode in THE FOREST AND THE TREES features experts and characters with whom we can inquire, relate and connect. Their curiosity and passion illuminates long-held assumptions and enigmas about our relationship with the natural world.
Combining breathtaking cinematography, inspired by iconic masterful films like Our Planet and Samsara with authentic human characters whose curiosity and passion pull in audiences the way shows like The Abstract, Tails By Light and Dogs do so well. The Forest & The Trees is a limited docuseries that fits on the streaming spectrum between categories like Nature & Ecology and Social & Cultural.
Keeping in line with each episode's theme, a celebrity narrator and intriguing filmmaking open up our minds and dazzle the eyes while our expert characters weave a narrative arch keeping our audience engaged from episode to episode. Taking time between encounters with our characters, our narrator brings us back to the science and social commentary allowing the edits to meditate on mesmerizing visual depictions of the mysteries and lessons contained in forests across the globe.
Thanks to colonization, we accept academic Western science as the authority on truth. An undergrad reads a textbook made of paper and knows how to turn maple sap into maple syrup. Yet an Amish child also knows how to turn maple sap into syrup – not because of a book, but through life experiences based on a culture with a direct connection to nature.
Many nature documentaries predictably turn to the “expert,” the esteemed authority who will invariably sit down in a chair on a film set and hold forth with excerpts from their latest academic paper. In this series, though, we’re taking audiences out of the studio – and into the canopy. We will walk and climb alongside seekers and researchers as we follow a dizzyingly diverse range of practitioners – each with their own intimate understanding of trees and forests.
Early in the series, we will introduce each of the characters who will drive the series’s overarching narratives. Weaving together different ways of knowing, these four people will provide a multifaceted perspective on the big questions for which we all seek answers.
By sharing their passion and insights, they’ll inspire the next generation of tree huggers.
Each episode in the limited series features a different celebrity narrator who greets the audience with a curious anecdote, each one examining something familiar from a new perspective. These cold openings are designed to meet the audience where they are, introducing them to the episode's central theme while posing a big question. After the show intro, we turn not only to our characters but to the trees themselves for answers.
Documentary filmmaking can create empathy in an audience in a way no other medium can. I’ve never felt more fired up than I did when I walked out of the theater from Fahrenheit 9/11, and I’ve never felt such an overwhelming sense of horror as I did when I rented The Cove. But, for all their power, these films fall short in their failure to present something essential: A glimmer of hope, or, better yet, a call to action. As we’ve moved into an era of longer-form documentary, audiences being more acclimated to the idea of engaging with this format, there is a golden opportunity to not only inform and entertain, but to move hearts and minds to take meaningful action. As the old saw goes, “If you can see it, you can be it.”
The filmmaking in The Forest & The Trees is intended to show audiences a balance of despair and hope, both fully justified. We’re delivering a new take on the time-honored nature documentary – one that doesn’t portray the world like an isolated scene contained in a snow globe, quarantined from outside influence. In this world, we engage – here, a cameraman skydives into a forest fire right alongside the character trying to put it out.
And the reason is simple: Too much despair discourages taking action. With a healthy amount of hope and a can-do spirit radiating from the characters in our series, as well as the accompanying impact campaign, we will show audiences that they too can be the change they hope to see in the world. A curious exploration of Trees and Forests will remind humans that we, too, are part of the natural world – inspiring and enabling us to see both the forest and the trees.
I appreciate your time and interest in what is a very meaningful project that
I have poured myself into over the past year. We need trees more than they need us, and that’s a message I’m passionate about spreading to my fellow humans.
With production support from
Bayonet Media I’ve created over 40 minutes of proof of concept content that I find to be a better example of what I would like to create with your help. Feel free to browse these films and take a deeper dive into our characters and episodes on our private microsite. Let me know if you’d like a password.
Andrew P. Quinn
Creator & Director
The Forest & The Trees