a documentary 
in partnership with

Among those racing to unravel the mysteries of the redwoods and ensure their future are:

a genetic detective who’s decoding redwood DNA and creating a kind of 23andMe for trees, an impassioned park ranger summoning new life from ravaged timberlands, and a modern-day Ansel Adams who's attempting to print a 320-foot photograph of a redwood -- a  portrait she hopes will rekindle our connection to these ambassadors from another time.  

The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always... From them comes silence and awe. 

                                                                                                    - John Steinbeck


The deeper you venture into a redwood forest, the more your imagination runs wild. The tallest and some of the oldest living things on Earth, an encounter with a coast redwood can feel like reuniting with an ancient ancestor. Living links to the past, these trees also hold superpowers that may play a key role in our future – including their ability to withstand fire and combat climate change, to offer clues about human longevity, and to reconnect us to nature in our hectic urban lives.


So how do they do it? And more importantly, can we even we be sure that redwoods

will be here in the future to work their magic?

GIANTS RISING is a documentary that will tell the tale of these iconic trees, revealing the mysterious inner-workings that make redwoods so resilient – and so alluring.  For centuries we considered their wood to be a commodity as precious as gold, leading us to all but obliterate them. Today, they are national treasures that we’re racing to understand, protect and regenerate.  Through the stories of those on the frontlines of these efforts, the film will lay bare the marvels of redwoods like never before – celebrating the wonders of these primeval forests and underscoring all that’s at stake.




Owen has spent the last 15 years as a cinematographer filming a broad range of subjects and for various clients, from National Geographic to Adobe. His experiences have taken him from mountain streams in Japan to the Peruvian Amazon, to the vertical cliffs of Yosemite National Park and the harsh deserts of the Colorado River Delta.  Owen grew up exploring Northern California’s coastline and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where he first cultivated his love for science.  He holds an MFA in Science and Natural History Filmmaking from Montana State. 


Lisa Landers

Producer, Director & Writer

For two decades Lisa has been creating documentaries about a wide array of subjects including natural history, science, culture and arts. She’s traveled the world developing and producing films for networks such as the Smithsonian Channel, Discovery and National Geographic. She also served as the series producer for QUEST, an Emmy award-winning KQED (PBS) multimedia science program.  Her writing and interactive productions are featured at institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History, the Tech Museum of Innovation and Papalote Museo del Niño in Mexico City.  Lisa lives in a redwood grove, where she takes daily walks among giants. 

Owen Bissell


Fabian Aguirre + Maya Piscotto

Steadicam & Add'l Cinematography

Fabián is a cinematographer interested in filmmaking as an instrument for social and environmental impact. Maya Pisciotto is an editor, cinematographer, and musician and finds inspiration in stories that ignite empathy and build community. Their work has been featured on The New York Times, Vox, and other publications, and their clients include The Berkeley Food Institute, The Mill Valley Film Group, the University of California, and the California Film Institute, among others.


Sue Ellen McCann

Sue Ellen McCann, KQED Executive in Charge, Science worked her first job as a lab assistant in the 7th grade.  She is now in charge of the largest integrated science reporting team in California for news and the natural history series Deep Look.  She is currently conducting the first national survey on science millennial media habits.

Katie Carpenter

Katie is an award-winning documentary filmmaker specializing in environmental subjects for television. She produced “Ocean Warriors”, a six-hour series filmed around the world for Animal Planet and executive produced by Robert Redford and Paul Allen. She produced two National Geographic specials for PBS, “Battle for the Elephants” and “Warlords of Ivory” on elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade for National Geographic. Her enthusiasm for conservation programming was nurtured as Vice President of Film/TV for National Audubon Productions.

John Heminway

An author and award-winning filmmaker, John has produced and written more than 200 documentaries on subjects as varied as travel, brain science, evolution, and natural history. He has won two Emmys, two Peabody Awards, and a duPont-Columbia Award. Much of his work has focused on documenting the last of the Earth’s frontiers and its protagonists.  His most recent book, In Full Flight: A Tale of Africa and Atonement, explores the heroic career and mysterious past of a  doctor working in rural Kenya. 




If you've ever wandered among redwood giants, you know why we want to make this film.    


These trees have the power to rekindle our deepest sense of connection with nature,

to bring awe into our everyday lives, and to expand our perspectives.

And right now, these trees need our support just as we need theirs.

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