Compiled from footage collected over two years by film student-turned-activist Steffen Meyn, Lonely Oaks documents the troubled occupation of Germany's Hambach Forest.
Over the last decade, environmental activists have occupied a dense forest in West Germany. Meyn’s footage, immersive and at times intentionally disorientating – it was mostly shot with a 360° camera mounted on to his bicycle helmet, allowing the filmmaker to move freely across treetops – features interviews with activists, captures brutal police evictions, and interrogates intentions of the occupation alongside the wider landscape of climate activism. It was during a 2018 police operation, when they attempted to clear a site, that Meyn fell to his death. It’s a shocking moment that suffuses the film with pathos and tension, as well as driving its urgent search. Posthumously completed by a group of Meyn’s friends and fellow students, Lonely Oaks
is a timely and moving documentary about the climate crisis and the nuances of protest.