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Posts tagged ‘film’

New Sylva exhibition film

April 17, 2014

Gabriel Hemery

Sarah Simblet talks about her part in creating The New Sylva in a film sponsored by Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) to celebrate the opening, today, of the Sylva Exhibition.


Read more about the exhibition at RBGE



Unwrapping the first copy of The New Sylva

March 11, 2014

Gabriel Hemery

Author Gabriel Hemery has made a short film of the moment that he unwraps the first bound copy of The New Sylva (read more here). It offers a first glimpse inside the book for our future readers.

Time lapse film of a drawing in the making for The New Sylva

April 15, 2013

Gabriel Hemery

We wrote recently about a visit to a forest in Wales to make one of the last treescape drawings for The New Sylva (read more). While we were on location Gabriel Hemery set up a camera and during the course of six hours took 600 photographs of Sarah Simblet at work with a view to making a short time lapse film.

We wanted the film to provide our followers with an insight into at least one of the wonderful locations that we’ve been privileged to work in during the course of this book project. The film shows Sarah setting up the drawing and developing its composition before starting to fill in the detail using pencil.  You will hear Sarah’s busy pencil strokes with the river babbling in the background. During the two minute film it takes a while for the drawing to appear on the page but eventually patience is rewarded. Look out for a brief cameo role by Gabriel at the end of the film.

As usual Sarah will work more on the drawing back at her studio before completing it using pen and ink. The drawing is of a stand of sugi (Cryptomeria japonica) and will feature in the final chapter of The New Sylva.

Trees are in our blood

July 4, 2012

Gabriel Hemery

Our Forests member Jonathon Porritt, explains why he thinks it is that we love our forests and trees so much we are willing to fight to protect them. Watch the film.

The tree in film

November 7, 2011

Gabriel Hemery

Silent Running (1972)

Like most people I love watching a good film or movie, in the cinema or at home. I have to admit a strange affliction however: I just cannot avoid spotting out-of-place trees in films and TV dramas. Try as I might, rows of ‘alien’ Sitka spruce of Douglas Fir which were introduced to Europe only in the last two hundred years or so, just shout out to me when appearing in the landscape of period dramas or Medieval action movies such as Robin Hood.  I see red; my saturation in the fiction spoilt as I am jolted back to reality. My poor family.

I feel for the film maker, I really do. They already have to contend with vapour trails in the sky from jets, with tyre tracks or inappropriate architecture. It may be difficult to film in any modern woodland and to fool the expert forester eye, and perhaps it doesn’t matter in that most people will never notice.

On a more positive note this got me thinking about the tree in film. The films where trees take a starring role and that leave you richly rewarded.

AvatarAvatar (2009)

The most recent example would be James Cameron’s epic eco-tale Avatar. The indigenous Na’vi on the moon Pandora, are invaded by resource-seeking humans in 2148 A.D. The message is unashamedly one of environmentalism. The trees in a rainforest take a central role, most especially one mother tree called the Hometree which allows the Na’vi to communicate with Eywa; their guiding force or deity. The film is a masterpiece; it’s no surprise that it is one of the biggest-grossing films ever made. It is not my favourite tree film though, much as I enjoyed its special effects. Perhaps the environmental message was a little too overt for me.

Read independent reviews

The man who planted trees filmThe man who planted trees (1988)

The story of Elezeard Bouffier, a fictional character and star of Jean Giono’s classic tale The man who planted trees, first published in 1954, is well-known and much-loved the world over.

Many people may not be aware however that a beautiful animated film was made, based on the book, by the amazing Frédéric Back. Lasting just 30 minutes you cannot help but be mesmorised by the wonderful animation and captivated by the story that is told. This film is widely thought of as a masterpiece.

Unfortunately the film is currently difficult/expensive to purchase, even online. However, visit a website dedicated to the animator and you can watch some video clips:

Read independent reviews

Silent Running (1972)

Silent Running (1972)

A science fiction classic, that deserves much greater recognition, is Silent Running Directed by Douglas Trumbull in 1972. Trumbull was the special effects maestro behind 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). It tells the story of a future where all plant life on Earth is extinct, and an astronaut is given orders to destroy the last of Earth’s flora that has been preserved in a greenhouse onboard a spacecraft.

Crew member, Freeman Lowell, a ‘forest ranger’ of the future, becomes a renegade when he questions an order to destroy the forests preserved in the domes.

“Hey, wait a minute, wait a minute… I don’t think you guys understand what this means, please don’t blow up the domes.”

“… they are not replaceable!”

The special effects, which even though made over 30 years ago. are impressive. Together with the sound effects, music score and superb acting by the cast, in particular by Bruce Dern in the lead, a powerful sensory experience is created on film. Without wishing to spoil the movie, you can expect murder, tension, starring roles from three robots and a really imaginative film that will leave you pondering the meaning of life and our environmental responsibilities long after the credits have finished rolling.

DVDs of the film are easy to come by on many online stores, and the film is available remastered and on blueray.

Read independent reviews

Gabriel Hemery

A song for forestry

October 28, 2011

Gabriel Hemery

Sustainable forestry song

Trees are essential to life. Wood is the most sustainable material on Earth. Managing our forests properly means that we can have healthy forests and produce wood.

It can be difficult to understand how cutting down a tree in a forest is sustainable. The most common questions I’m asked when I give public talks are usually about sustainable forest management. What does it mean?

The official answer to this is:

“ … the stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfil, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems” Forest Europe

This definition is helpful for its thoroughness, but not a lot of help when trying to explain the concept simply and quickly, especially to kids. And that’s the heart of the problem for forestry, and for foresters. The great diversity of the benefits derived from sustainable forest management, and the diversity and importance of wood products and use, only create complexity in communications. And then there are the timescales of forestry, which typically transcend human generations: how can felling a 100 year old tree be sustainable?

In an attempt to help, in my own small way, I recently came up with a new way to explain sustainable forest management. I created a fun song, complete with actions.

The song is a four line ’round’ – meaning that all lines are sung at the same time by four different groups. It is sung to the traditional tune London’s Burning.

Plant a tree, plant a tree sit + hands on head
Help it grow, help it grow sit + raise hands above head
Be a forest, be a forest stand + stretch hands high
Cut it down, cut it down! sit + arms folded

With a large enough audience, that is split into four groups (ideally randomly around the room), it is possible to create a ‘forest of people’ that when singing + doing the actions, appear as a forest being managed sustainably on fast forward! I hope you enjoy my film.

Gabriel Hemery

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