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The Redwood Forest Defense (RFD) is a loose-knit group of activists who use nonviolent protest tactics to fight industrial logging in Northern California. And, as the short documentary Sentinels details, this includes a now years-long tree-sitting campaign to protect an 18-acre stretch of pine, fir and redwood trees in an otherwise quiet slice of Humboldt County, California. To make the film, the US directors Derek Knowles and Lawrence Lerew made visits to the protest site over the course of nearly 200 days, including to the small camps atop redwoods some 100 feet from the ground. The resulting portrait is an observational look into the group’s unyielding commitment to their cause, which requires a unique melding of survivalism, tree-climbing and activism expertise, and, perhaps above all else, the endurance to outlast the time, money and resources of their opponents. By allowing the camera to linger on scenes, Knowles and Lerew skilfully convey the passage of time, and contrast the quiet serenity of the treetop camps with sights and sounds of industrial logging just a few hundred feet away.
Directors: Derek Knowles, Lawrence Lerew
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