In Search of Old Growth is a living film series by filmmaker Chloé Mossessian and composer Hank Midnight.

An old growth forest is one in which the ecosystem has not undergone a major environmental catastrophe— such as wildfire or blight— in a very long time. Signs that you might be walking beneath an old growth canopy include rich biodiversity as well as evidence of decay: a process which feeds the mycorrhizal network so essential to communication between trees. In «Entangled Life» Merlin Sheldrake describes the nature of mycorrhizal networks in forests:

The networks are inconceivably complicated, their implications huge and still poorly understood. Imagine the puzzlement of an extraterrestrial anthropologist who discovered, after decades of studying modern humanity, that we had something called the Internet. It’s a bit like that for contemporary ecologists.
Because the question of when a forest becomes «old growth» remains somewhat elusive, there is no universally accepted manual on how to manage them. However, the cost of «sleeping behind the wheel» when it comes to preserving old growth forests has cataclysmic implications, as they serve an essential function in storing carbon, in purifying water systems, in maintaining healthy nutrient cycles, and in providing a home for a wealth of species of flora and fauna.

In our search for old growth forests, we must account for their absence. Where does our search begin? Perhaps in the most important preservation tool we have — the human imagination.

As a filmmaking duo, we feel a sense of urgency to produce a series that explores the majesty of forests from the perspective of humble students. It is our hope that In Search of Old Growth will provide a space for generative inquiry around forests and our evolving relationship with them.

* Sheldrake, Merlin. Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures (Vintage, 2021). p.13