The Forest Maker

Director: Volker Schlöndorff

Germany, 2021



The Forest Maker is the portrait of a remarkable man whose life’s work was honored with the alternative Nobel, the Right Livelihood Award in 2018. Tony Rinaudo has found a way to grow trees in the most barren areas by activating the tree stumps and roots still alive as an “underground forest” for decades and thereby securing the livelihood of thousands of farmers in Africa. His method “Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration” (FMNR) restores not only soil but dignity and hope. Having worked in the Sahel region for 30 years he witnessed despair and famine but also resilience, determination, and change. In this film, Schlöndorff follows Rinaudo to different African countries to witness the effect FMNR has had on fighting desertification and encounters issues that also concern us in Europe – migration, climate change, and gender justice. To complement his view, he invited African filmmakers to collaborate with him and share their experiences of rural life and local challenges. This documentary shows ordinary people doing extraordinary things and carries a strong message of community, self-empowerment, and, above all, hope.

Director’s Bio

Volker Schlöndorff, recognized as one of the founders of the movement known as New German Cinema, though his work is singular with this movement for his choice of material and his independent style. Schlöndorff’s early films,” Young Torless”, and the television production,” Baal”, won critical acclaim for their unflinching statements about the German legacy of authoritarianism and violence. His later film, “The Lost Honor of Katharine Blum”, which he co-directed with Margarethe von Trotta, is a searing indictment of police and media injustice when Germany was under attack by the terroristic Red Army Faction. In 1979, Schlöndorffs most celebrated film, “The Tin Drum”, won both the Palm d’or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Producers: Volker Schlöndorff, Thomas Kufus, Kornelia Themen

Co Directors: Alassane Diago, Idriss Diabate, Laurene Manaa Abdallah

Editing: Anette Fleming Music: Bruno Coulais, Ablaye Cissoko

Cinemathography: Paapa Kwaku Duro, Jean Diouff, Michael Kern, Mahamoud Abdoulay, Jonas Aly Sagnon, Axel Schneppat

Sound: Porgo Seydou, Mbaye Maniang Diagne Pat, Fikadu Semegn Emre, Benjamin Simon Sound

Design: Detlef Schitto Re Recording: Mixer Martin Steyer

Animation: Nadia Beddiaf