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A Thousand Pines | Sebastian Diaz Aguirre and Noam Osband on Foreign Workers Replanting Trees in America

It’s a grueling, tough, and demanding job in America, but someone must do it. The documentary A Thousand Pines, follows a group of documented foreign planters for months as they re-plant trees in the United States for the lumber industry.

Here is the official description of the film:

A Thousand Pines shows the lives of migrants who depend on the controversial guest worker visa program, following a crew from Oaxaca, Mexico, over the course of a season planting trees throughout the United States. The crew struggles to balance the job’s physical demands and its extreme isolation while remaining connected to their families back home. As the season progresses, they become a small family, cooking and caring for each other in order to endure the punishing work. The film centers on the crew foreman, Raymundo Morales, who is in his 19th season working for the largest reforestation company in the United States. When he began, he was single and a few responsibilities. Now, however, he must balance his obligations to his wife, his children, and his elderly mother with a heart condition, while also lending to the needs and emergencies of the planting crew. Spending only three months at home during the off-season, Raymundo’s job is both the family’s salvation and its heartbreak.

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LRM Online’s Gig Patta spoke with co-directors Sebastián Diaz and Noam Osband about the documentary by finding a crew open to filming and Osband’s personal university project as a part of his study. We also talked about the editing, journey, lesson learned, and the song used in the film.

Sebastián Díaz Aguirre is a filmmaker and editor originally from Mexico. His short documentary Toñita premiered at MoMA Doc Fortnight, and his award-winning documentary Brilliant Soil also screened internationally.

Noam Osband, is a filmmaker, radio producer, and anthropologist. His first feature film, Adelante, won best documentary at the Catskills Mountain Film Fest. And his sophomore documentary The Radical Jew won the best short doc at the Charlotte and Tallgrass Film Festivals. Also, he is a radio and print journalist with credits at The Atlantic, BBC4, Criminal, and Freakonomics Radio.

A Thousand Pines, a powerful documentary showcased through Independent Lens for PBS, is now available to stream on the PBS app. This accessibility allows viewers to delve into the lives of these migrant workers and gain a deeper understanding of their struggles and triumphs.

Watch the exclusive interview with Sebastián Diaz Aguirre and Noam Osband for A Thousand Pines below. Let us know what you think of the interview.

For news and interviews, contact Gig Patta at [email protected]. Follow,, or for all his postings and musings in entertainment.

Source: LRM Online Exclusive, PBS

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