Liesbeth De Ceulaer’s documentary Behind The Redwood Curtain is set for its international premiere at The Hamptons International Film Festival this week (10-14 October). The film is screening in the fest’s official competition, entering the race for the Gold Starfish Award for Best Documentary Feature Film.
De Ceulaer’s first feature takes its viewers to the majestic Redwood Forest and presents different people who have strong personal connections to this region along the coast of Northern California. Seven forest dwellers – loggers, scientists, activists and Native Americans – show their part of these impressive woods. There are no Walmarts and Starbucks here, just small towns and big trees. The ancient Redwoods have always kept the region isolated but now that excessive logging is encroaching, the survival of this unique habitat is under threat. Liesbeth De Ceulaer tells a compelling story about the relationship between man and his natural environment in which she entwines her own impressions of the forest with the beliefs, dreams and fears of the forest inhabitants.
Behind The Redwood Curtain is De Ceulaer’s first feature-length documentary project, after assisting colleague filmmaker Sofie Benoot on docs such as Blue Meridian and Fronterismo. Pierre Schreuder and Grimm Vandekerckhove took on the photography of the documentary, while Tom Denoyette was responsible for editing. Animator Emma De Swaef, known for her work on Oh Willy…, created maquettes and shot the short sequences introducing the forest and each character in the film. Teaming up with production company Minds Meet (I'm the same I'm an other), Tomas Leyers produced the film with the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.
In addition to De Ceulaer’s documentary, other films from Flanders in The Hamptons line-up include Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown in the World Cinema spectrum, while Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels’ stop motion short Oh Willy... screens in the shorts programme.