Starring: LRoy, Mawu, Ang Holiday, Sital Muktari and Stephanie Johnson
Second Growth is an afro-futurist speculative-documentary about balance, forgiveness and belonging.
At first, I had hoped this would be a film that imagined humanity in a state of divine balance with the natural world. The more I tried to make that idea tangible, the more disingenuous it felt, and quickly my project felt like a naive delusion dislocated from the reality of this summer’s pandemic, hurricanes and wildfires.
Everyday I feel so much grief and relentless loss, and the more I connect with nature- the more I understand the immense scale of all that’s already been destroyed… the languages, songs, civilizations, forests, rivers, biodiversity and weather patterns.
How can we feel anything other than grief?
I found a clue to this question when learning more about the Redwood forests in Oakland. The groves that have cradled me through this pandemic are the offspring of an old growth ecosystem thought to exist for at least 3,000 years prior to the 1850s. I see how the fallen ancestors regenerate into a plurality of second growth selves- forming ‘fairy rings’ around the ancient root systems.
How can we grow beyond grief, especially when white supremacy continues to kill us? I don’t have the answer to that, but Redwood trees still exist and if you’re reading this- you do too.
This film ended up becoming an experiment- a speculative documentary about a time where we could finally be ready to forgive. I’m not there yet, but I need to risk dreaming about it.