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Call of the Forest Documentary | 85 mins. | Language: English

In this beautiful and timeless film by Jeff McKay, we follow scientist and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger as she investigates our profound biological and spiritual connection to forests. Across the northern forests, Diana takes us on a journey to relearn the forgotten wisdom of trees.

Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees is a beautiful and timeless film by Jeff McKay featuring visionary scientist, conservationist and author, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, on her journey to the most beautiful forests of the northern hemisphere. From the sacred sugi and cedar forests of Japan, the ancient Raheen Wood of Ireland, the walnut and redwood trees of America, to the great boreal forest of Canada, Diana tells us the amazing stories behind the history and legacy of these ancient forests while also explaining the science of trees and the irreplaceable roles they play in protecting and feeding the planet.

Along the way, Diana meets with some of the world’s foremost experts in reforestation. Dr. Akira Miyawaki, a worldwide specialist in the restoration of natural forest systems on degraded land; Prof. Katsuhiko Matsunaga, marine chemist, Hokkaido University; Jessica Hutchinson, ecologist, Executive Director of the Central Westcoast Forest Society; Andrew St. Ledger, co-founder of the Irish Woodland League; Dr. Bill Libby, Professor Emeritus of Forest Genetics; Sophia Rabliauskas, spokesperson for Pimachiowin Aki, a UNESCO World Heritage site; Dr. Silke Lanniger, Office of Forestry, Wolfach, Germany and Meinrad Joos, a leader in forest management and president of Regierungspräsidium in Germany.

This compelling story sounds the alarm by calling for immediate action on a global scale, but at its heart it is a story of triumph, offering a simple, achievable strategy for each of us to combat climate change by replanting forests in our own neighbourhoods, yards and parks.

“Diana Beresford-Kroeger and I share a dream. We want people to see the forest and the trees, and the wildlife abounding in wild environments, in fine detail.”

– E.O. Wilson, Harvard entomologist, conservationist and father of modern environmentalism

Overview

  • Genre: Documentary
  • Running Time: 85 mins.
  • Writer: Jeff McKay, Diana Beresford-Kroeger
  • Director: Jeff McKay
  • Producer: Merit Jensen Carr, Jeff McKay
  • Original Music by:
  • Format: HD
  • Languages: English, French
  • Subtitles: Yes
“Call of the Forest is a film of rare significance. It draws the viewer into the green world that sustains life on this planet at a crucial ecological point, and is an introduction to the work of Diana Beresford-Kroeger, one of the least known but most important people on the planet.”

– Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of The Shipping News, Brokeback Mountain, and most recently, Barkskins

Dr. Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Dr. Diana Beresford-Kroeger (The Global Forest, A Garden For Life, Arboretum Borealis and To Speak for the Trees) is a world recognized author, medical biochemist, botanist and climate change visionary.

As one of UTNE Readers Visionaries and an elected fellow of Wings WorldQuest, Diana has worked to preserve the environment since the early 1960s when she identified climate change as one of the most important challenges we would face in the modern age. This set her on a course of rigorous scientific study where she achieved a masters in botany and two PHDs in biochemistry and biology.

But because of her Celtic roots, Diana’s heart has always been with the ancient forest. Diana’s understanding of trees as a living library of medicine has led her to unique scientific discoveries, including proof they can communicate with a chemical language in a quantum world.

Diana’s ambitious bioplan for replanting forest systems is being implemented by cities and organizations around the world.

Cast

Professor Akira Miyawaki

Dr. Akira Miyawaki specializes in seeds and the study of natural forests, and is active worldwide as a specialist in the restoration of natural vegetation on degraded land. He has advocated the value of natural forests and the urgent need to restore them. He calculated only 0.06% of present Japanese forests are indigenous forests. Most are monoculture crop plantations designed to forestry principles. In his view, these are not resilient nor best suited for the geobioclimatic conditions in Japan, or best suited to address climate change.

Professor Katsuhiko Matsunaga

Professor Katsuhiko Matsunaga is a marine chemist, now retired from Hokkaido University in Japan. His important scientific work has proven the essential tie of life giving nutrients from forests to our oceans. He and fellow researchers solved the mystery of collapsed marine ecosystems along the Japanese coast. His research is a lesson for all of us no matter where we live. For decades it seemed that scientific specialists were not interested in the connection between forests to oceans, lakes and rivers. But with declining fish stocks and the collapse of vast areas of coastal marine habitats, this one Marine chemist and his research team dedicated themselves to solving the mystery of disappearing fish and damaged marine ecosystems. Professor Katsuhiko Matsunaga, determined that a decline in upstream broad-leaf forests due to clear cutting, had led to a loss of fulvic acid. Fulvic acid is essential for marine plants to be able to absorb iron enabling the growth of foundation marine foods like phytoplankton. This essential fulvic acid is created in the humus of the forest floor through the composting process of tree leaves. The fulvic acid is then delivered to rivers lakes and oceans by way of rain and streams.

Jessica Hutchinson

Jessica Hutchinson specializes in ecological restoration, riparian areas management and landscape level planning. She has worked in the environmental field for 14 years conducting wildlife habitat assessments, terrestrial ecosystem inventories, fisheries habitat assessments, and watershed level restoration plans. She is currently the Executive Director for Central Westcoast Forest Society and Ecologist/Owner of Coastal Rainforest Services and President of Strawberry Isle Marine Research.

Andrew St. Ledger

Andrew St. Ledger is a Dublin born artist, wood sculptor, furniture maker and activist and since 2002 he is committed to restoring Ireland’s native forests. With Ted Cooke and Brendan Kelly, Andrew is co-founder of ‘The Irish Woodland League’, an NGO dedicated to restoring the relationship between people and their native woodlands in Ireland. He is a biodiversity officer with CELT (Centre for Environmental Living and Training) who works in partnership with the Woodland League on forest projects. Andrew is actively restoring native forest on his own land in Ireland since 2007 and he drafted the first restoration proposal for the Great Forest of Aughty, a surrounding uphill area, which is now being implemented. He continues to run workshops, give talks, visit schools, promoting native forest restoration while also working on his wood sculptures used for forest education purposes.

Visit the Woodland League for more information.

Sophia Rabliauskas

Sophia Rabliauskas is a respected member of the Poplar River First Nation in the boreal region of Manitoba who has worked with her community to secure interim protection of their two million acres of undisturbed forest. In 2004, Rabliauskas along with several other community members led Poplar River in the development of a comprehensive land protection and management plan for their territory – a precedent-setting accomplishment among First Nations in the boreal. Rabliauskas’s and Poplar River’s current efforts are focused on securing permanent protection of their land from the Manitoba government. With that victory, they sought a UNESCO World Heritage listing for a larger region of First Nations boreal forest called Pimachiowin Aki.

Dr. Silke Lanniger

It would not have been possible for us to have filmed in Germany if not for Silke. She offered us tremendous hospitality by way of accommodation at her home in Germany’s Black Forest, she fed us and served as a contact liaison and locations person for us while there. Silke's longtime love has been the forest. She is presently the forest district manager at the Office of Forestry in Wolfach, Germany.

Dr. Bill Libby

Dr. Bill Libby is Professor Emeritus of Forest Genetics, having taught forestry at the College of Natural Resources in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management between 1962 and 1994. His pioneering work in the field of forest tree genetics is internationally recognized and respected. Dr. Libby has practiced forestry on several continents and is well known for his work with California’s coast redwood and Monterey pine trees. He currently sits on the Board of the Save the Redwoods League with a focus on promoting research on redwood forest disturbance effects and the impacts of climate change on California’s coast redwood and giant sequoia forests. Dr. Libby’s observations on state and national forest policy are reflective of his insight and intellectual curiosity. His dedication in service to the forests of California and elsewhere is inspirational.

Meinrad Joos

Meinrad Joos has been the president of the forest agency Regierungspräsidium in Freiburg, Germany since 2005 and launched the Organisation of the Forest Education for Pupils in Urban Agglomerations. In July 2009, Joos was appointed CEO of ForstBW and head of the branch office of Fribourg. For many years Joos has been a leader in German forest management, an advocate for intelligent sustainable forestry and has initiated important decisions for a renewable energy supply.

Production Team

Jeff McKay | Director, Camera, Writer and Co-Producer

My first ‘encounter’ with Diana Beresford-Kroeger was a radio interview I happened upon while running errands one morning. I had never heard anyone talk about trees the way she did. She shone a light on each value of a tree. And as it turned out – for more than three years, I worked to create the film, Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees. After making many films since 1985, the experience of working with Diana on this film has been a truly gratifying one and that I’ve really cherished. I wish to personally thank everyone who participated in the making of Call of the Forest and to my production partner Merit Jensen Carr who has been steadfast in her support. Our production has been so fortunate to find like-minded creative collaborators and broadcasters – Filmmaking can be an exhausting and often very challenging process and we hope you may have an opportunity to experience the film, from all of us who have given so much of ourselves to its creation.

Merit Jensen Carr | Producer

For over 30 years, Merit Motion Pictures (MMP) has worked with Canada’s foremost writers and directors to produce award-winning documentary films and series. During this time, MMP has partnered with BBC, ARTE, ZDF, France TV, Vulcan, CBC, Smithsonian Channel, National Geographic Channel and many others. MMP is a frequent partner for international science and nature co-productions and is fortunate to have access to the highest and most flexible tax credits in Canada. Executive producer and founder, Merit Jensen Carr, is passionate about telling stories which reflect humanity’s relationship with the natural world and has received some of the industry’s top honours including the inaugural HOT DOCS Don Haig Award for Special Achievement in Producing. Recent highlights include the MMP & CAPA/Films A Cinq science and nature co-production, Reef Rescue (ARTE, CBC, NOVA, VULCAN) winner of Best Conservation Film Long Form at the Jackson Wild Media Awards 2020. Merit is currently producing the 2 x 1hr natural history series Kingdom of the Polar Bears (National Geographic Channels, France 3, CBC, Terra Mater, Canal D); Great Lakes (Smithsonian, TVO, Terra Mater); Everest Dark (CBC documentary Channel) and season 4 of Dr. Keri: Prairie Vet (Animal Planet). Other highlights include the Canadian Screen Award-winning films What Plants Talk About (CBC/PBS Nature), Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees nominated at Pariscience and the Canadian Screen Awards for Best Science and Nature Film, Turtle Beach (BBC, ARTE, Blue Ant, CBC) and Polar Bear Town (Smithsonian Channel US, OLN).

Awards & Nominations

  • Official Selection, World Wildlife Day Film Showcase: Forests, 2021
  • Official Selection, Elements International Environmental Film Festival, 2020
  • Official Selection, Handle Climate Change Film Festival, 2019
  • Official Selection, One Earth Film Festival, 2019
  • Official Selection, Salt Spring Film Festival, 2019
  • Official Selection, World Community Film Festival, 2019
  • Nominated for the Rob Stewart Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series, Canadian Screen Awards, 2018
  • Official Selection, Wild and Scenic Film Festival, 2018
  • Official Selection, Goethe Institut Science Film Festival, 2018
  • Official Selection, Belleville Downtown DocFest, 2018
  • Nominated for Best Science Television and Best Conservation Film, Pariscience Science Film Festival, 2017
  • Official Selection, Festival international du film de Trois-Rivières, 2017
  • Official Selection, Offline Film Festival, 2017
  • Official Selection, Cinema Verde Environmental Film & Arts Festival, 2017
  • Official Selection, Life Sciences Film Festival, 2016
  • Nominated for Nature Award, Cinema Verde Film Festival, 2016

For media inquiries, please contact:

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