Bainbridge filmmakers think big
By CONNIE MEARS
Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
April 8, 2010 · Updated 5:03 PM
They could have chosen any subject for their next documentary, but Benjamin Greené and Benj Cameron were enchanted by the “biggest living organism found anywhere.”
Their film, “Bury Me in Redwood Country,” will be shown at 7 p.m. April 11 at BPA.
Their 1,000-hour, two-plus year collaboration started with a shared vision of panning shots of towering trees with a soundtrack of cathedral bells. In that regard, the film is “aesthetically driven,” Greené said. “It’s poetic, with a strong sense of place.” A sensibility the two men developed growing up on Bainbridge.
The result is a “meditation on extremes” to borrow a phrase they use to describe the Redwood trees themselves. The film begins with a chase scene of sorts: arborists thrashing their way through the deep forest in search of big ones – a relative term when you’re talking redwoods. In this case, the trees are more than 350 feet tall, 30 feet in diameter and an estimated 1,500 years old.
Adrenaline kicks in from watching the hunt for “champions”, the tallest trees of their kind. From there, the film’s pace retreats as the duo worked to “construct a meditative experience that pulls the viewer into the ancient and ephemeral realm of the trees.”
The subsequent endorphin rush flows from witnessing the sheer breathtaking beauty. In that regard, the film is like medicine. Or a prayer.
The documentary features an impressive list of scientists, arborists, rangers, activists, foresters, natives and naturalists, but in the end, the trees speak for themselves.
The filmmakers are at the dues-paying stage of their careers. The two camped in their van, watched the IMAX crew roll in with truckloads of gear and even imported ferns.
“We had a sound guy for a few days. And no crane,” Cameron said.
What it lacks in special effects, it makes up for in presence.
“We did ambitious things with the camera,” Cameron said.
Cameron’s short documentary on the history of Port Blakely will be shown as well.
Proceeds from the event benefit the documentary. A 6-foot redwood will be available for purchase as well as DVDs.
For more information about the film, visit www.redwoodsdocumentary.com..
A screening of “Bury Me in Redwood Country” will be held at 7 p.m. April 11 at BPA, 200 Madison Ave.
Tickets, $15, go on sale at 6 p.m. at BPA. Patrons are invited to join the directors for a Q-and-A after the screening.Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer Connie Mears at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 842-6613.