What Trees Talk About Documentary | 44 min | Language: English

“With an original look and suggestive images, Canadian director Ryszard Hunka shows us the power of the Boreal Forest to shape life: not only that of the plants and animals that live within it, but of the entire planet.” (Translated from Italian)

– L’Associazione e la Cooperativa Sociale “Triciclo”

Narrated by scientist, author and broadcaster David Suzuki, What Trees Talk About: Secrets in the Boreal Forest is an awe-inspiring look at the secret and dynamic life of trees in the boreal forests of the north – how they communicate, wage war and work together to transform their world and ours.

Director Ryszard Hunka, uses spectacular panoramic visuals and high-end CGI animation to show us Earth’s largest land-based biome, the boreal forest. Its extreme environment places a high demand on the flora and fauna of the region to adapt to survive. This fascinating journey into the heart of the boreal, reveals the hidden social connections that allow trees to thrive in harsh conditions, from sharing food and water through their roots, to starving out the squirrels that stand in the way of reproduction – boreal forest trees even band together to change the weather.

What Trees Talk About: Secrets in the Boreal Forest offers a fresh perspective, debunking the common myth that trees are inactive, solitary beings. Leading edge researchers and scientists such as Stan Boutin (University of Alberta), Annie Desrochers (Université du Quebec en Abitibi Témiscamingue), John Gunn (Laurentian University), Jill Johnstone (University of Saskatchewan), Andrew McAdam and Ryan Norris (University of Guelph), Andrew Tanentzap (University of Cambridge) and Joel Thornton (University of Washington) take us on a tour of the boreal realm.

How will this force of nature, which has been integral to the health of our planet for over 10,000 years, change with the onslaught of climate change? And can these boreal species adapt quickly enough to survive?


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Running Time: 44 minutes (CBC and DVD version; 52 minutes (International Broadcast Version)
  • Writer: Ryszard Hunka
  • Director: Ryszard Hunka
  • Producer: Merit Jensen Carr, Sandra Moore
  • Original Music by: Shawn Pierce
  • Languages: English
  • Subtitles: Yes
"An absolutely fabulous documentary on the ecology of Canada's boreal forest.”

– Dawn Bazely, professor in biology in the Faculty of Science, and the former Director of the Institute for Research Innovation in Sustainability, at York University in Canada

Production Team

Ryszard Hunka, Director and Writer

Ryszard honed his visual storytelling skills at Global Television, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and as an independent filmmaker. While he was at CBC’s highly acclaimed Documentary Unit making films for the Doc Zone series, Hunka wrote, directed, and produced The Battle of the Bag, which revealed the ecological dangers of the ubiquitous and convenient plastic bag. It won a Gemini (Canadian Screen Award), for the best Science, Technology, Nature, or Environment film in 2008.

Hunka went on to produce, write, and direct Feeding New York, which earned a Gemini nomination for Best Direction in a documentary series, and The Strongmen, the premiere episode in the award-winning series Love, Hate, and Propaganda. The CBC series 8th Fire, in which Hunka directed the establishing episode, Indigenous in the City, made an important contribution in exploring the way forward in Canada’s troubled relationship with indigenous peoples.

More recently, Hunka has written and directed films for The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, including Decoding Desire, which was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Writing, and My Brain Made Me Do It, which was nominated for a CSA for Best Science or Nature Program. His latest film, What Trees Talk About, examines how trees in the Boreal forest work together, sharing resources and fending off predators to gain a survival advantage.

Before he focused on documentary filmmaking, Hunka was a producer and journalist for CBC programs including Disclosure, The National, Country Canada, and It’s A Living. His work has been recognized with over a dozen awards. He began his career in film and television as a videographer and editor at Global Television.

Hunka is a lifelong photographer, yoga enthusiast, and martial artist. When he has the chance, he hits the road on two wheels: either his bicycle or motorcycle. He lives in Winnipeg with his partner in a home that is also an underground arts venue.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Ophélie Petit | Email: ophelie@meritmotionpictures.com | Tel: +1 (204) 775-4092