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A still from the film 'Forest for the Trees'. A person walks through a sparsely forested piece of land, with some trees felled or falling over. The person wears a cap, black leggings and vest, protective gloves and hiking boots. With their left hand, they reach into a sack that is attached to their belt. Their right hand is holding a saw.

Forest for the Trees

Shared Planet

10 December 2023 | 7:20pm - 9:35pm

Closed Captions
Glasgow Film Theatre
12 Rose Street
Glasgow, Lanarkshire G3 6RB United Kingdom
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Film Synopsis: Forest for the Trees

Director: Rita Leistner | Countries of production: Canada | Year: 2021 | Length: 88 min
Language: English | Age: 12+ years

A war photographer’s immensely moving documentary about a group of tree planters, where emotional renewal is threaded with that of the land.

Planting trees is backbreaking work, done at an exhausting pace: physically gruelling, emotionally demanding, and often done in solitude amidst barren, inhospitable environments. And yet, to a community of tree planters on the Canadian west coast, some kind of rare, inimitable healing emerges from such hardship – from the bearing down of bodies on hard earth. Award-winning war photographer Rita Leistner, who was once a tree planter, captures the unbearably moving ways that tree planting intertwines the small with the vast, the individual with the collective. A fascinating and deeply human portrait of labour, where personal reckonings with grief and loss are echoed in the earth, being replanted one tree at a time.


Content notes: Contains discussion of self harm, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, with a brief mention of climate grief. Brief depiction of scars from self harm.

Access notes: Mainly bright, well lit images interspersed with white animations on a black background. Gentle music and dialogue throughout. Brief flashes of light towards the end of the film (1:17, 1:18).


Screening as part of #TOAFF23


Beyond the Screen

Join us in conversation after the film with author Jessica Gaitán Johannesson and tree planter Anna Doran to explore questions around the human cost of environmental action – and the role of connection and community in the ongoing fight for climate justice.

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