Forest for the Trees Film Screening May 24, 2023 at 7pm

Upcoming screening event:

May 24th film screening

A 20th Anniversary Film Screening and Fundraiser for Green Planet Films

Featuring: A New England Premiere of: Forest for the Trees: The Tree Planters

Green Planet Films, a Stonington based nonprofit and distributor of over 350 documentaries, to celebrate their 20-year anniversary with their first local theatrical screening. Canadian Director and Photographer Rita Leistner will be presenting the Connecticut premiere of her film: Forest for the Trees: The Tree Planters. 


Sponsored by: Mystic Luxury Cinema 

Where: Mystic Luxury Cinema in Old Mystic Village

When: Wednesday, May 24th at 7 pm

Cost: $20

buy tickets

Link to Buy Tickets: Forest For The Trees: The Tree Planters - Wed 24 May 7:00 PM - Mystic Luxury Cinemas

Watch the trailer for Forest for the Trees:

There will be a raffle after the film featuring a BushPro Hiballer tree shovel, and items from Holdridge Home and Garden.

tree shovelHoldridges

Green Planet Films founder, Suzanne Harle, and Toronto-based Director/Photographer Rita Leistner will introduce the film and be on hand for a Q&A afterwards. Rita will discuss her career as a treeplanter, filmmaker and photographer, including her work as a conflict photojournalist in Iraq and Afghanistan war zones

Forest for the Trees: The Tree Planters is a visually and artistically unique documentary that explores the physical and emotional aspects of a community of Canadian west coast tree planters. Deftly weaving together still photos and film footage, director and photographer Rita Leistner, depicts the contradictions in the experiences of the tree planters—the hardship and the healing; the solitude and the joy of belonging—creating an eloquent cinematic metaphor for the human condition. Finding common cause, self-knowledge and meaning in their formidable task, the tree planters restore themselves and each other in the process of restoring the environment. 

Learn more about the film, watch trailer, see photos:

Forest for the Trees - The Tree Planters – Green Planet Films

Reactions to the Film and Book:

“An epic poem about tree planting that digs us inside the planters’ lives and dreams”
— John Greyson, film/video artist and queer activist

“Knock-out gorgeous! Leistner is a magnificent story-teller”
— Jean McGlothlin, Founder Sebastopol Film Festival

“Stunningly and disturbingly beautiful”
— Paul Wilson, translator and writer

“The book is astonishing! Truly perfect”
— Deirdre Donhohue, Managing Research Librarian, New York Public Library

"Leistner is a force of nature and as real as they come"
— Manfred Becker, filmmaker, Program Director of Film Studies, York University

“One of the best films I’ve seen about documentary photography”
— Nina Berman, Photographer and Filmmaker, Noor Images


rita leistner

About Rita Leistner:

Canadian artist Rita Leistner uses photography and film to create portraits of communities in extreme conditions—such as soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, female patients at psychiatric hospitals in war-time, First Nations communities in the Arctic, women wrestlers in the United States, and loggers in Canada—exploring themes of purpose, struggle, and belonging. Each unique world shapes her conceptual approaches and aesthetic styles, resulting in distinctive, large bodies of work that merge art and documentary and often consist of books or films in addition to photographs for installation and exhibition. 

She typically invests months or years in a project. In 2016, she began photographing and filming professional tree planters in the rugged backwoods of Canada. Leistner herself is a veteran tree planter—before becoming an award-winning war photographer, she planted over 500,000 trees in Canada from 1984-93. “The Tree Planters” exhibition premiered in Toronto on October 21, 2017 at the Stephen Bulger Gallery. 

“The Tree Planters” consists of a major exhibition, a feature documentary film, Forest for the Trees (2021) and a 250-page book with a Foreword by Canadian filmmaker Don McKellar (Dewi Lewis Publishing, UK, Fall 2021). 

Leistner studied photography at the International Center of Photography in New York and has an MA in comparative literature from the University of Toronto, where she taught the history of documentary photography. 

Her work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Musée Albert-Kahn (Paris, France), Ben Gurion University (Beersheba, Israel), the North Vancouver Museum (Canada), the Musée du Nouveau Monde (La Rochelle, France) and the Centro de Fotografía de Montevideo (Uruguay). 

She is co-author of Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq, and The Edward Curtis Project: A Modern Picture Story. Her first monograph, the interdisciplinary work Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan, was a finalist for the 2015 Marshall McLuhan Award for Media Ecology. Her writings on photography have been published in many magazines and books including Memories of Fire: Images of War and the War of Images, The Routledge Companion to Photography and Visual Culture, and The Photobook Review

Rita Leistner is a 2018 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Award Winner, has won three Canadian National Magazine Awards Gold Medals and was a 2017 finalist for the Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography at Harvard University. Her work is in private, corporate and public collections including the Musée du Nouveau Monde (La Rochelle, France), the TD Bank, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada. In 2017, the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa acquired fifteen years of her work from Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Afghanistan—among the largest holdings in the collection.