Opening 21 Sep 2023
Starting in 2015, climate activists created a network of wooden tree houses in the Hambach Forest near the Dutch border. They were trying to prevent the threatened clearance of this ancient forest as part of coal mining company RWE AG’s plan to begin surface mining. It became a symbol of environmental activists in a campaign against capitalistic politics and profit seeking companies. The young activist themselves wore heavy boots, dark trousers, and often facemasks and were willing to fight for this campaign which put them in direct confrontation with an army of police officers.
Much of this documentary is seen through a young film student/ journalist, Steffen Meyns who appeared on the scene with a 360°camera and basically met everyone living in this area while learning to climb up and down these trees. Sadly, in 2018 during a police eviction, Meyns lost his life falling through a walkway 15 meters high in the treehouse village. He had documented both sides of the coin as well as the different views inside the core group. His footage not only had followed the protestors but often had included his critical inner thoughts on what he was witnessing on a day-to-day basis. This documentary was made by his friends and fellow students Fabiana Fragale, Kilian Kuhlendahl, and Jens Mühlhoff based on what Meyns had filmed. In addition to Meyns’ footage, the film also includes seven interviews of individuals who knew him personally. They describe the situation in the forest and how things developed before his tragic death. It is an important film and I hope that it will either be dubbed or subtitled in English so that a broader audience will view it. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)