The Forest Maker

The Forest Maker

Direction: Volker Schlöndorff


Germany, 2021
87 Min.

Copilot Berlin 1945 - Diary of a metropolis

zero one film in Coproduction with Volksfilm, BR/ARTE.
Funded by Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg.



THE FOREST MAKER is the portrait of a remarkable man whose life's work was honored with the so- called 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 secures the livelihood of thousands of farmers in Africa. His method “Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration” (FMNR) restores not only soil but dignity and hope. The Chief of all Farmers, as he is affectionately known today in many villages, has had to fight an uphill battle to gain acceptance for his ideas. Having worked in the Sahel region for 30 years he witnessed despair and famine but also resilience, determination and change. In THE FOREST MAKER Volker Schlöndorff follows Tony Rinaudo to different African countries to witness the effect FMNR has had on fighting desertification and repeatedly encounters issues that also concern us in Europe - migration, climate change, gender justice. To complement his view, he invited African filmmakers to collaborate with him and share their experience of rural life and local challenges.

THE FOREST MAKER shows ordinary people doing extraordinary things and carries a strong message of community, self-empowerment and, above all, hope.


written and directed by Volker Schlöndorff

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
Production Supervisor Josefine Bingemer
Line Producer Tassilo Aschauer
Commissioning Editor Matthias Leybrand (BR), Sonja Scheider (BR/ARTE), Catherine Le Goff (ARTE G.E.I.E)
funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg