Tag Archives: thetreeproject

Forged from Fire – the documentary

We need your support to finish our film. We’re producing a broadcast length documentary that tells the story of The Blacksmiths’ Tree and what is means to Black Saturday fire affected communities and beyond. Thousands of people helped to bring the Blacksmiths’ Tree into the world. Some of those folks are contributing to our film.

Why do we need financial support?

Pretty much the entire film has been shot. We have around 35-40 hours of footage, countless stills and videos donated by blacksmiths, professional and amateur filmmakers and photographers. We now need to assemble this material into an hour length story. Doing so, and doing so at the highest quality we can muster will ensure Forged from Fire can be seen on both small and big screens everywhere and anywhere. We also want to pay our team of local producers, technicians, composers and musicians who up until now have volunteered their time and expertise.

We need to raise $70,000 to make this happen and we’re doing so with the assistance of the Documentary Australia Foundation.

You can support Forged from Fire by sharing this article, by organising local screenings when we’ve completed our film or by contributing to our fund raising efforts with the Documentary Australia Foundation. Pledge your support here.

Forged from Fire is produced by film-makers, artists, musicians and volunteers from Black Saturday fire affected communities.

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Human Rights Arts & Film Festival

OUR TREE – Forged from Fire screening at the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival.

As communities in Victoria supported each other through the aftermath of the Black Saturday fires, blacksmiths the world over united to create the most ambitious public artwork and memorial in Australia – The Blacksmiths Tree.

A week after Black Saturday a group of blacksmiths agreed to create from their own fires a gum tree that would not only survive another fire, it would unite fire affected communities across Victoria. Five years on, the completed Blacksmiths Tree was installed in Strathewen, on the same day as it was conceived – Valentines Day.
By combining locally composed music, stills, videos, time-lapse, aerial footage and interviews shot by blacksmiths, volunteers, film-makers and the general public, Our Tree – Forged From Fire, tells a story of how the idea of forging a few leaves gathered artisans with strong community traditions to create the 9.8 metre, 3 tonne stainless steel and copper Blacksmiths Tree.

Our Tree, an exhibiting documentary by Andrew Garton, illuminates stories of resilience and healing through the making of The Blacksmiths Tree, from its inception to its completion.

Human Rights Arts & Film Festival

OUR TREE – Forged from Fire screening at The Human Rights Arts & Film Festival.

As communities in Victoria supported each other through the aftermath of the Black Saturday fires, blacksmiths the world over united to create the most ambitious public artwork and memorial in Australia – The Blacksmiths Tree.

A week after Black Saturday a group of blacksmiths agreed to create from their own fires a gum tree that would not only survive another fire, it would unite fire affected communities across Victoria. Five years on, the completed Blacksmiths Tree was installed in Strathewen, on the same day as it was conceived – Valentines Day.
By combining locally composed music, stills, videos, time-lapse, aerial footage and interviews shot by blacksmiths, volunteers, film-makers and the general public, Our Tree – Forged From Fire, tells a story of how the idea of forging a few leaves gathered artisans with strong community traditions to create the 9.8 metre, 3 tonne stainless steel and copper Blacksmiths Tree.

Our Tree, an exhibiting documentary by Andrew Garton, illuminates stories of resilience and healing through the making of The Blacksmiths Tree, from its inception to its completion

Human Rights Arts & Film Festival

OUR TREE – Forged from Fire screening at The Human Rights Arts & Film Festival.

As communities in Victoria supported each other through the aftermath of the Black Saturday fires, blacksmiths the world over united to create the most ambitious public artwork and memorial in Australia – The Blacksmiths Tree.

A week after Black Saturday a group of blacksmiths agreed to create from their own fires a gum tree that would not only survive another fire, it would unite fire affected communities across Victoria. Five years on, the completed Blacksmiths Tree was installed in Strathewen, on the same day as it was conceived – Valentines Day.
By combining locally composed music, stills, videos, time-lapse, aerial footage and interviews shot by blacksmiths, volunteers, film-makers and the general public, Our Tree – Forged From Fire, tells a story of how the idea of forging a few leaves gathered artisans with strong community traditions to create the 9.8 metre, 3 tonne stainless steel and copper Blacksmiths Tree.

Our Tree, an exhibiting documentary by Andrew Garton, illuminates stories of resilience and healing through the making of The Blacksmiths Tree, from its inception to its completion

Our Tree in the making

It’s been around three months since I’ve received photos and videos from Our Tree project contributors. At last count 708 individual photos and a handful of videos, mostly from the 30 November 2013 public unveiling of The Tree, have been sent through.

With The Tree being prepared for its life in the open I took the opportunity to shoot some additional interviews and as much detail of The Tree as possible. This I was able to achieve the Our Tree’s Director of Photography, Mike Wilkson. Mike was keen to work with me after seeing The Tree at the Whittlesea Showgrounds. We’ve literally forged a unique collaboration that will see us work together for this and I suspect many other projects to come.

Mike shot some of the loveliest detail you will see of The Tree using both 50mm and 100mm lenses and a Cineslider.

Detail of copper and stainless steel foliage.
Detail of copper and stainless steel foliage.
Detail of one of the branches.
Detail of one of the branches.

A couple of weeks ago I was grateful to have been given a box of mini-DV tapes, footage shot by local film-maker Warwick Page, covering the around the first two years of The Blacksmith’s Tree in the making.

Ten tapes all up, eight of which could be viewed and digitized. An unusual error prevented me from seeing two of these tapes. In spite of that, there’s 127 gigabytes of video to work with.

There’s video covering the first public events blacksmith’s held in St Andrews, Hilderbrand Road and Eltham. Including the first meetings with engineers and interviews with key personnel and the individuals from Black Saturday fire affected communities.

Doug Tarrent, St Andrews, 2009.
Doug Tarrent, St Andrews, 2009. Courtesy Warwick Page.

I’m currently working on an Our Tree 10 minute micro-doc which will comprise one of three video channels for exhibition. With a core team now working with me, including emerging producer Laura Emerick, and colleagues at the City of Whittlesea, Dunmoochin and The Tree Project itself, I’m hoping the micro-doc will be a precursor to a full length documentary covering both the local and international stories that have given life to The Blacksmith’s Tree.

Andrew Garton

Thanks to our contributors

It was a beautiful, touching, memorable day out at the public launch of the completed Blacksmith’s Tree. I spent much of my time filming as unobtrusively as possible, giving people the space they clearly wanted and needed with The Tree.

Many touched the trunk and held out their hands to rub a leaf. Kids searched for the ladybug and caterpiller and others sought out family names from their parent’s shoulders.

Here’s a sample of what I’ve received so far… and with that a very special thank you to everyone who has and will continue to make this project evolve. There’s still plenty of time to send through your photos and videos.

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