Saviors of the Forest

Director: Bill Day

Institute History

  • 1993 Sundance Film Festival


This out-of-whack ecodocumentary runs counter to most attempts to highlight the plight of the rain forest. Instead of crying crocodile tears or having talking head scientists prophesy doom for the climate of the planet, these filmmakers actually talk several chain saw-carrying compadres Into cutting down trees so they can justify their long journey to Ecuador. As they put it, "Oil companies need oil, timber companies need wood, colonos need land, and camera guys need footage."

Welcome to the Jungle and to an unorthodox film that focuses on an eclectic group of earth-firsters who share an apartment in Quito. Doug is an Australian organizer; Marta, a Colombian biologist; and Chris and Lucinda, British furniture makers who attempt to import the revolutionary Trekkasaw, which minimizes impact because it is small enough to be transported to the site where the tree is cut. The group hope to combine its use with a computer-generated management plan where trees are numbered and only selectively harvested. Their first problem is getting the saw out of customs. Thus begins the contest of wills, the fraying of nerves, and the ultimate chainsaw massacre.

Saviors of the Forest has been described as Roger and Me goes to the rain forest. It has the same sense of irreverence and humor, and is just as short on solutions. It does, however, in its own funny way, shed light on the way people interact with each other and with nature, and honestly acknowledges that even high-minded filmmakers can help exploit a natural resource. There are no heroes or villains here; In fact the film sympathizes with the plight of the colonos, the people who move to the edges of the forest, cut it, burn it. and plant it, all in the name of a better life. No one succeeds in being a savior. but what can you expect from a couple of camera guys?

Friday Jan 22 7:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I

Sunday Jan 24 1:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I

Wednesday Jan 27 10:00 am
Egyptian Theatre

Saturday Jan 30 4:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I


— Lawrence Smith

Screening Details


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