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a feature documentary 
GIANTS RISING
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Revealing the superpowers of redwood trees like never before, Giants Rising tells the epic tale of these awe-inspiring forests, including the mission to help them rise up from the past -- and help us ALL face the challenges of the future. 

 
The Film
 In partnership with
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NARRATED BY MICHAEL FRANTI

The deeper you venture into a coast redwood forest, the more your imagination runs wild. The tallest and some of the oldest living beings on Earth, these trees are a gateway to experiencing an unparalleled sense of awe and connection. Spending time among these silent giants can change the way we see ourselves, and the world around us.  Living links to the past, redwoods hold superpowers that may play a key role in our future – including their ability to withstand fire and capture carbon, to offer clues about resilience and longevity, and to enhance our physical and emotional well-being. How do they do it? And more importantly, how can we ensure that redwoods will be able to keep working their magic as they continue to be pushed to their limits?

 

Through the stories of those on the frontlines of efforts to understand and safeguard redwoods, GIANTS RISING reveals the mysterious inner-workings of these towering trees – celebrating the wonders of America's most iconic forests and underscoring all that’s at stake.

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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 redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always...
They are ambassadors from another time.
                                                                                                - John Steinbeck

GIANTS RISING tells the epic tale of our relationship with America's iconic redwood forests. Prized for the quality of their wood, some 95% of the primeval redwoods have been logged since the1800s. The losses were dramatic, but so too have been the battles to protect these trees, then and now.  

In this film we meet passionate people dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of the redwoods and safeguarding their future. They include a scientific detective uncovering the secrets of redwood resilience, members of the Yurok Tribe fighting to restore their cultural connections to these forests, a park manager summoning new life from ravaged timberlands, and a modern-day Ansel Adams who's attempting to display a life-size photograph of a 310 foot redwood a portrait she hopes will rekindle our connection to these ambassadors from another time.  

Through the stories of these redwood devotees and others, we also delve into questions about why we evolved to experience such intense awe in the presence of redwoods, and how spending time in these forests also offers social benefits like making us more compassionate, generous, and willing to cooperate with each other for the greater good. The goal of GIANTS RISING is not only to celebrate the marvels of redwoods and all they do for us, but to recognize what we can do for them to ensure they continue rising up for generations to come.

FEATURING

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SARAH BIRD 
Visual Artist

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PAUL PIFF
Social Psychologist
UC Irvine

ROSIE CLAYBURN
Yurok Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer

LEONEL ARGUELLO Redwood National & State Parks Dep. Superintendent

STEPHEN SILLETT
& MARIE ANTOINE
Forest Ecologists
Cal Poly Humboldt

ALLYSON CARROLL Dendrochronologist
Cal Poly Humboldt

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ZANE MOORE
Redwood Geneticist
UC Davis

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SUSAN BLAKE 
CA State Park Interpreter

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  BARRY McCOVEY Jr    Yurok Tribal
Fisheries Director

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TODD DAWSON
Tree Biologist
UC Berkeley

LAURIE A. WAYBURN     Co-Founder
Pacific Forest Trust

EMILY BURNS
Former Director of Science Save the Redwoods League

Team
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NARRATED BY 

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MICHAEL FRANTI  michaelfranti.com

Michael Franti is a globally recognized musician, activist and award-winning filmmaker revered for his high-energy live shows, inspiring music, worldwide philanthropic efforts and the power of optimism. Throughout his multi-decade career, Franti has earned three Billboard No. 1’s with triumphantly hopeful hits “Sound of Sunshine,” “Say Hey (I Love You)” and “I Got You,” as well as six Top 30 Hot AC singles, 10 Top 25 AAA Singles and three Billboard Top 5 Rock Albums. Spearhead’s 12th studio album Follow Your Heart was released in June 2022 and debuted at No. 2 on the iTunes Pop Chart behind Harry Styles. Franti & Spearhead are gearing up to release their 13th studio album with Big Big Love set for November 3, featuring 17 songs, including the title track and lead single currently climbing the Triple A Chart.  

PRODUCTION TEAM

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Producer, Director & Writer

LISA LANDERS, Tangent Productions

For more than two decades, Lisa has been creating award-winning content for television networks and museums such as National Geographic, the Smithsonian Channel, PBS/KQED, the American Museum of Natural History, the National Building Museum, California State Parks, and Mexico City’s Papalote Museo del Niño. Covering a wide range of subjects, she's most passionate about sharing stories that change the way we see the world -- and ourselves. 

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Cinematographers

Over the course of this production we have filmed with a talented and experienced team of cinematographers including Owen Bissell, Will Goldenberg, Fabian Aguirre, Maya Piscotto, Richard Neill, Randall Love and Mike Abela, among others. Wielding their full range of expertise, our camera crew has filmed everything from dazzling drone footage over majestic forests to macro cinematography of scientists extracting DNA from tiny redwood seeds.

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Editor 

DAMON CLAUSSEN

An exceptionally creative editor with a keen sense of pacing and visual impact, for over 25 years Damon has been editing for clients including Warner Bros., DC, CW, HBO, Discovery, TLC, National Geographic, and Smithsonian Channel.  He prefers Takis and peanut M&Ms in the edit bay, collects old VWs and 80s arcade games, and has a thing for Labrador Retrievers.

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Co-Producer

JEN CIRALDO

A media producer and writer who crafts stories that explore the human experience and the natural world, Jen has written and produced documentaries for networks like National Geographic Television, PBS, and the Discovery Channel. She also develops content marketing materials to help companies and nonprofits propel their mission. Her insightfulness, organizational strategies, and forward thinking have been essential to driving this project forward.

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Composer

CODY WESTHEIMER

Cody has scored nearly 50 features and over a hundred hours of television, including many nature-focused documentaries. From soaring IMAX symphonies to his iconic Tour de France theme song (NBC), Cody’s passion and emotional sensibility come through in every composition. 

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Animators & Graphic Designers

The award winning animation duo known as Little Fluffy Clouds (Betsy de Fries and Jerry van de Beek) bring the full force of their talent, imagination and story-telling sensibility to Giants Rising. On the motion graphics front, Susan Harris of Fluent Studios used her incredible eye for elegance to help convey essential parts of the story and pull together the look across the entire film and all supporting media.

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Sound Design & Mix

SKYWALKER SOUND

When you enter a redwood forest, there is a soft but heavy silence that envelopes you. Like after a fresh snowfall.  Subtle movements sound surreal, amplified in a way that lets you know you have wandered into another realm.   Through the wizardry of Skywalker Sound designers and editors Kent Sparling (Minari, Pete's Dragon, An Inconvenient Sequel) and Bjørn Schroeder  (Top Gun: Maverick, The Witches, Harry Potter) the redwood forests' unique sound is brought to life -- from the crackle of redwood duff below slowly moving feet, to the melodic call of distant owls, to the burst of flames ripping through the forest canopy. 

SUPPORT GIANTS RISING

Production is complete and final finishing is underway, but we still need additional funds to create educational resources and other tools that will expand the film's impact. Tax deductible contributions to this non-profit film can be made directly through our partner, The Redford Center -- an organization that supports filmmakers who use the power of storytelling to galvanize environmental justice and regeneration.

We are grateful for the incredible generosity of Manitou Fund, the organization that has made this film possible. Additional support was provided by The Goldring Family Foundation, as well as a long list of individuals.  Please join us in support of the redwoods and the telling of this extraordinary tale.

 

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