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DOCUMENTARIES

Development   /  Laurence Billiet

THE GIANTS

THE GIANTS is a poetic, cinematic portrait of Bob Brown, the Forest, and of our profound connection with trees.

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Impact areas

ENVIRONMENT

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Laurence Billiet

  • PRODUCER Helen Panckhurst

Synopsis

DURATION: 90 MINUTES

THE GIANTS is a long overdue biopic of environmentalist Bob Brown, a National Living Treasure, the first openly gay member of parliament in Australia and leader of the world’s first Green party. It’s also about the life of Trees, which scientists are only starting to understand. The film goes from Bob story to the trees’ story - revealing just how closely intertwined they are. It’s a joyous exploration of the Forest delivered in a new, creative and awe-inspiring way.

Brown’s trailblazing life helps narrate the exhilarating rise of the environmental movement in Australia from the successful Franklin River campaign in 1983. The film is a poetic exploration of his motivations and his actions that began, like Greta Thunberg, with a few lone acts of protest; and of his spiritual connection to wilderness that continues to sustain him.

Fast-forward to today and Australia is sleepwalking into deforestation – it has the highest rate of land clearing in the developed world, on par with Brazil. THE GIANTS wants to wake us up!

In the battle for the Franklin, Bob Brown’s collaboration with leading Tasmanian photographer Peter Dombrovskis proved decisive in capturing the public’s imagination and inspiring them into action. THE GIANTS will follow the same tactic – we will create an epic portrait of the Forest that combines monumental ‘tree portraits’ and immersive, animated ‘3D forest scans’ with spine-tingling sound design and a powerful soundtrack featuring human vocals – to literally give a voice to these trees.

Did you know trees talk to each other? That forests have nurseries and that ‘mother’ trees feed their young? THE GIANTS will popularize recent ground-breaking research to reveal the Forest as a complex, intelligent, mass-scale living creature.

Brought to you by the team that made FREEMAN – the most watched documentary of 2020 on Australian TV, THE GIANTS aims to ignite a conversation about the right of the Forest to exist – and to inspire us to save it.

Support this project

97.80% funded
  • $311,500.00

    FUNDING GOAL
  • $304,660.00

    FUNDS RAISED
  • 19

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Donations

Emma Black $100.00
Hackett Foundation $25,000.00
AndyInc Foundation $50,000.00
Australian Communities Foundation ATF Melliodora $10,000.00
Australian Communities Foundation ATF Warrowing Sub-Fund $10,000.00
Circle5 Foundation Pty Ltd $8,000.00
Diccon Loxton $500.00
Phillip Cornwell $1,000.00
ILSE O'REILLY $10,000.00
Anonymous $5,000.00
Ruffin Falkiner Foundation C/- APS $30,000.00
Hayley Baillie $10,000.00
The Dick and Pip Smith Foundation $12,000.00
Joanna Baevski $50,000.00
David Rickards $20,000.00
Rosalind Price $3,000.00
HELENE BOUROULLEC $60.00
Marie Louise Sylvan $10,000.00
christopher grubb $50,000.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Forests provide wildlife habitat, cool the earth and promote rain. Yet Australia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. Queensland clears land as fast as Brazil, equal to 1000 rugby fields a day. Last year alone, more than 20% of our Forests burnt during the catastrophic bushfires, a proportion scientists believe is unprecedented globally. These devastating fires made headlines around the world. Yet the smoke had hardly cleared that logging recommenced turning Gondwana-era Forest into woodchips. Australia is sleepwalking into deforestation – THE GIANTS wants to wake people up!

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Australia is sleepwalking into deforestation – it has the highest rate of land clearing in the developed world. THE GIANTS wants to wake people up! Through a skillful mix of powerful storytelling and awe-inspiring visuals and sounds, THE GIANTS aims to move our viewers and inspire them to save our great Australian forests for future generations.

Outcomes

What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Our end goal is to help permanently outlaw old-growth forest logging in Australia.

Activities

How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Many of us have lost our connection to trees. We want our audience to 'experience' the Forest on screen in way that they haven't before. THE GIANTS advocates for the Forest in a creative way. Our goal is to change people's perception of trees and inspire them to participate in conservation projects.
The film’s website will point to like-minded organisations' initiatives that the film’s audience can partake in. We will also encourage school screenings through organisations like ATOM as well as actively target the political and corporate leaders who have the power to accelerate the required attitude shift. This may include offering preview tickets of THE GIANTS immersive VR installations and advance screenings.

Stakeholders

How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have the support of the Bob Brown Foundation who has granted us access to Dr Brown and his personal photo and video archive (much of which is previously unseen).

We aim to partner with organisations such as the Bob Brown Foundation, the Wilderness Society and Australian Bush Heritage to amplify the film's messages.

THE GIANTS has already received the support of SCREEN AUSTRALIA, FILM VICTORIA and MADMAN Entertainment as well as Andrew Myer (AndyInc Foundation) and several progressive business leaders. We are seeking complementary philanthropic support to help us get into production. The time to save Australia's great forests is now!

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

THE GIANTS advocates for the forest through emotions, as well as scientific evidence. With FREEMAN we learnt how to tackle potentially 'polarizing' issues like race and Reconciliation and present them in a way that promotes social cohesion and joy. With THE GIANTS we want to move and inspire Australians to save our great Forests, and feel good about it!

Many of us have lost our connection to trees. We'd love THE GIANTS to inspire trips to the local forests or to our significant old-growth forests in Tasmania. This would also help build local tourism, offering alternative forms of local employment.

We'd love THE GIANTS to change people's perception of trees and directly increase participation in conservation projects, whether it be hands-on local rewilding projects, volunteering or donating to community conservation groups, or lobbying for better protection for our wild spaces.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

THE GIANTS aims to change the mainstream perception of trees (greater empathy and understanding of their role); inspire the audience to participate in conservation projects and support putting an end to native logging in Australia.
We will track the publicity generated by the film in print and online as well as analyse the analytical data which will provide some cues as to whether the film has achieved its goals. A cornerstone of Madman's marketing strategy for the film is a series of events/talks featuring leading conservationists and the filmmakers, which will further contribute to spreading the messages. We would have achieved our goal if there is an increased understanding and LOVE for the Forest amongst the general public, as well as an increased participation in conservation initiatives. The film’s hashtags will enable us to track the film’s impact. Has the film changed the way we saw the forest? Is the cause to stop native forest logging gaining momentum on social media?