Across the world forests are being cut down and developed at an unbelievably alarming rate. As the ecosystems are destroyed so too are the cultures and traditions of the people who depend on these woodlands.
In order to protect our forests and wildlife we must reconnect people with stories of relationship and stewardship. We need to inspire and excite the next generation about connecting with their forests before these resources become developed, degraded and destroyed.
WOODLANDERS is a short film series that seeks to preserve the traditions and tales of people who care for and depend on forests for their livelihood and wellbeing. Journeying through the Temperate and Boreal Forests that circle the northern and southern hemispheres, the stories will begin in the Northeast US and spiral outward. The Dark Green Key on this map shows where the Temperate and Boreal Forests exist around the globe. Using this as a guide WOODLANDERS hopes to document the forest cultures of countries like the the Northeast and Northwest US, Canada, England, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, China, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania, Chile, Argentina and more!
Indigenous forest traditions are still practiced today by people like the Sami who are native to the Nordic region and the Ainu who are native to Japan. Modern day cultures are also still handing down their traditions from a not so distant past when the forest and the culture were deeply interwoven.
From the woodcraft and nut tree practices of ancient Europe to the mushroom and forest medicinals of Asia, this film series will offer a journey into the ancient and modern relationships people have with woodlands.
GOALS: Create a free media database of forest traditions and culture. Preserve endangered forest traditions through film, photography and writing. Inspire the next generation of forest stewards and wildlife protectors through education and media.
Costa Boutsikaris is a filmmaker from the Hudson Valley of New York. After receiving his BA in Visual Arts from Rutgers University he dove headfirst into his first feature length documentary INHABIT. Over the course of three years Costa traveled in his Veggie Oil powered van documenting permaculture and ecological design projects from Maine to Wisconsin. After documenting 20+ stories he raised $40,000.00 on KickStarter and in April 2015 released the film worldwide.
In 2015 INHABIT:
- Screened at 25 Film Festivals in 8 Different Countries
- Won the "Audience Choice Award" at both the Princeton Environmental Film Festival and at the Environmental Film Festival at Yale and the "Best In Theme" at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival
- "INHABIT is quite simply the best film ever made about Permaculture" - Permaculture Magazine
Season 1: The Fingerlakes Forest
Costa currently lives in Ithaca, NY which is the Finger Lakes Region. This area is home to thousands of acres of forests and many inspiring WOODLANDER stories. He will kick off the first season in this region to get the show started. In order to shoot this first season he needs a sponsorship or grant to cover the costs of creating the first five episodes. WOODLANDERS needs to raise $10,000.00 to Kick-Off Season 1! Costs include upgrading equipment, shooting, editing, music and travel. Please reach out to costa@FifthKingdomFilms.com if you would like to help make this series happen and be part of this preservation of knowledge.
WOODLANDERS is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-‐‑profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of WOODLANDERS must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only and are tax-‑deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Check out the episodes for the first season!
Ep.1 -"He Who Protects the Forest": Mike Demunn is a Native American Seneca-Haudoansee Forester who has helped preserve thousands of acres of wild lands across New York State. He is one of the few people who walks the line between indigenous traditions and modern forestry.
Ep.2 - Hawk Meadow Farm: Steve & Anne Sjerik grow mushrooms in their forest and make medicine from them. Steve is also an illustrator who draws plants and wildlife and they also create journals from recycled paper to inspire and educate children about wildlife. www.HawkMeadowFarm.com
Ep.3 - Rootwork Herbals- Amanda David is an african-american herbalist and forager who teaches locals how to make medicine from the forest and runs an apothecary in Ithaca. http://RootworkHerbals.com
Ep.4 - Twisted Tree Nursery- Akiva Silver and his family gather nuts each fall and feast on them, pressing them into oils, cakes and flours. They also collect good genetics from trees they like and sprout them to sell at their nursery. http://www.twisted-tree.net
Ep.5 - NewLeaf Environmental - Lance Ebel is a Forester who manages hundreds of acres of woodlands to improve wildlife habitat and improve the ecology. He is also a traditional bowhunter who hunts the deer populations to feed his family and the fragile biodiversity that is at risk from the overpopulation of deer. www.NewLeafEnvironmental.com