Cry of the Forests takes viewers to the heart of the forests to see first-hand the beauty of these towering ecosystems and the life they support. We meet the activists armed with go-pros and dressed in camouflage gear risking their lives to bear witness to the logging and we meet traditional custodians, tourist operators & farmers on the frontline of the battle to protect our forests.

Directors: Jane Hammond

Finding an argument against logging and in favour of protecting forests across many places around the world isn’t hard. Still, it is constantly alarming the rate at which forests are destroyed. Cry of the Forests takes a hard look at the southwest forests in Western Australia, which, although protected at one point, have seen a substantial increase in logging in recent years.

This Australian documentary does a fantastic job of laying out the facts and getting a view onboard with the climate message. It may help that I already agree with the direction of the filmmakers, but I’d love to see anyone argue against the simple but effective facts laid out in this film. Cry of the Forests links how crucial the forests are for keeping local wildlife alive and its environmental benefits as massive carbon storage. Things like local streams flowing and how they’re drying up and giving animals no water to drink, or how trees are homes to animals and they’re cut down without a second thought as to what those animal do next, or how they survive, is impossible to look past.

Suppose you think the logging of forests like the one in this documentary is planned out with precision. In that case, the GoPro footage of brave activists in camouflage captures the raw and brutal destruction in a way I’d never seen before.

For those who are, let’s say, fence-sitters or have a particular image that Murdock newspapers would portray activists as Cry of the Forests has a varied perspective. Young people to grannies are working to protect the forest, and the movie showcases why and how protects and critical activism work is essential to spread the message. The film itself, another element of spreading the message as it’s no hiding at all in a neutral tone — this is a film in support of the forests, one that hears its cries and wants to do something.

An important element often missed in similar movies or YouTube videos is the view of the Aboriginal people and their opinions on the destruction of the forests as the traditional custodians of this land. For them, it’s like losing family and an integral part of our land, one we should all be working to protect.

Cry of the Forests is an insightful look at the activism work happening in Western Australia to protect forests, the lengths people are willing to go to protect them, and why it’s necessary to do so — now, more than ever.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Online is running until October 31st