In 2008, a company called Green Diamond Resource Company began clear-cutting redwood trees in northern California’s McKay Tract, a lush and shadowy forest that was home to towering trees, tall ferns and wildlife. A group of activists responded by moving into the trees, setting up their lives in tarp structures in the lofty canopies among the trill of birdsong and the patter of rainfall. Among Giants focuses on one of the activists, Farmer, who has been living in the trees for three years and etches out a solitary and soggy existence based on faith and resistance. He hopes that, ultimately, his sacrifices will stave off the cut and preserve the forest that he has come to know as home. He says, “It’s not just about this one place, it’s about the whole area and really about the whole planet.”
Julio Solis grew up near Magdalena Bay in Baja, Mexico, where turtles were plentiful. As he got older, he watched their population decrease from over harvesting, so he dedicated himself to conservation of the reptiles. This short film by Allie Bombach and Brenda Barrera is part of a series and profiles people who are doing the best they can to change the world.
James Prosek is much like an artist in the tradition of nineteenth-century naturalists who cataloged the world as they discovered it. The difference is that Prosek paints creatures that are vanishing and hopes that by helping audiences to “know” these threatened creatures, he will improve their chances for survival. And so he quests after some 40 different Atlantic fish species — swordfish off Newfoundland, giant groupers in the Bahamas, a 900-pound black marlin in the Cape Verde Islands — to capture them exactly as they appear alive in the wild. Working at the nexus of art, culture and the environment, Prosek also adds an adventurer’s sensibility to the sad story of collapsing Atlantic fisheries. This short film depicting his bold project was made by Hal Clifford and Jason Houston (Stone River, Mountainfilm 2010 and eel/water/rock/man, Mountainfilm 2011) and was supported, in part, by a 2011 Mountainfilm Commitment Grant.
There are few things more poignant than to see strong brave men and women — warriors, all — reduced by the ravages of combat to brokenness: brokenness not just of the body, but also of the soul. Yet there is a tremendous redemptive power in witnessing those same tragically weakened and humbled men overcoming such harsh adversity to regain their honor, confidence and self-esteem. When such a story plays out against the timeless backdrop of Montana riverscapes and the meditative focus of flyfishing, it becomes all the more moving.