LONELY OAKS

In the midst of violent clashes between environmental activists and police at Hambach Forest, film student Steffen Meyn is killed in a tragic accident. We chronicle his journey deep into the activists' world.

For the past ten years, environmental activists have been occupying an ancient forest in western Germany which energy company RWE planned to clear to expand the nearby lignite mine. In 2018, the police attempted to take down over 50 tree houses in an operation courts later declared illegal. In the course of the evictions, a tragic accident occurred. Film student Steffen Meyn, who was filming the events at the site, fell from one of the tree houses and died. This film is based on footage Steffen shot over two years spent in Hambach Forest. We follow him closely via a 360° camera that was rigged to his helmet and get to know the activists who are willing to risk their lives to protect the environment. Steffen is enthusiastic about the environmentalists’ solidarity but struggles to take a stance on the radical nature of the protests. For his uncompromising commitment to this cause, he ultimately has to pay with his life. The film offers us some very personal insights and highlights the paradoxes and hardships of an activist’s life: political efficacy and self-sacrifice, police violence and militancy, idealism and painful reality.