Tree People

A deeply personal cinematic journey exploring the timeless relationship between humans and trees.

About the Film

Director: Regina Sobel  |  Status: Actively Fundraising

Are you interested in more info about the film and how to support? Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Trees are all around us, but their inner lives are unfathomable. They watch in silence as we push our shared world toward catastrophe. What would we learn from these ancient beings if we knew how to listen?

“Tree People” is a deeply personal cinematic journey that explores the timeless relationship between humans and trees. Beginning with the story of a beloved tree from the director’s childhood that met a tragic end, the film asks what these ancient, rooted organisms can teach us about survival in a world that seems headed for disaster.

Guided by the filmmaker’s poetic and philosophical narration, we travel the globe to meet trees and the people who love them: indigenous basket weavers asking what it means to treat trees as equals; scientists exploring the limits of biological knowledge; and artists meditating on the central role of trees in religion, mythology, and folklore.

The sheer scale of the story is brought to life through startling juxtapositions. In the desert expanse of Wyoming’s badlands, a paleobotanist unearths fossilised leaves from a long-lost forest. In a Michigan apartment, a rogue environmentalist carefully packages seeds to be sent north where they can escape an increasingly inhospitable climate. In the lush Amazon, a Peruvian ecologist meticulously catalogues and measures giant trees that are slowly dying. And in the ruins of Hiroshima, a centuries-old ginkgo miraculously survives an atomic blast. While grounded in the present, we also take excursions into deep time—visiting empires that thrived on lumber and extinctions that forever changed the face of the planet.

Curiosity is at the heart of the film’s approach. We grapple with the impossibility of truly knowing what it’s like to be a tree. We evoke the mystery and ambiguity of arboreal existence by embracing myriad visual styles. Cutting-edge science is brought to life with hand-drawn animation. Gritty glimpses of the Anthropocene are interwoven with breathtaking archival footage and humorous, touching interview moments, to give the film a collage-like quality.

For millennia, trees have given us food, shelter, and even the air we breathe. And now, in the face of an uncertain future, they will help us find seeds of hope.

Latest Updates:

March 18, 2024 - Tree People was selected to participate in CPH:FORUM at CPH-DOX in Copenhagen.

Feature FilmsIn Development Plants