Song from the Forest

Documentary Film / Germany / 2013 / 52′ & 97′

  • Author:Michael Obert
  • Director:Michael Obert
  • DOP:Siri Klug
  • Editor:Wiebke Grundler
  • Distribution:Real Fiction
  • World Sales:Deckert Distribution
  • Festivals:IDFA 2013 (VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary), ZagrebDox 2014

As a young man, American Louis Sarno heard a song on the radio that gripped his imagination. He followed the mysterious sounds all the way to the Central African rainforest and found their source with the Bayaka Pygmies, a tribe of hunters and gatherers.
He never left.

Today, twenty-five years later, Louis Sarno has recorded over 1,000 hours of unique Bayaka music. He is a fully accepted member of the Bayaka society and has a 13 year old son, Samedi. Once, when Samedi was a baby, he became seriously ill and Louis feared for his life. He held his son in his arms through a frightful night and made him a promise: “If you get through this, one day I’ll show you the world I come from.”

Now the time has come to fulfill his promise, and Louis travels with Samedi from the African rainforest to another jungle, one of concrete, glass, and asphalt: New York City. Together, they meet Louis’s family and old friends, including his closest friend from college, Jim Jarmusch.

Carried by the contrasts between rainforest and urban America, with a fascinating soundtrack and peaceful, loving imagery, their stories are interwoven to form a touching portrait of an extraordinary man, and his son.

A modern epic between rainforest and skyscrapers.

Tondowski Films & Friends in co-production with and WDR. Supported by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.