A Thousand Pines directed by Noam Osband and Sebastián Díaz
A Thousand Pines

A Thousand Pines, a vérité documentary showing the day-to-day life of migrant workers who labor in America’s lucrative timber industry, will have its world premiere at the New York Latino Film Festival, taking place September 15-24, 2023, and a broadcast premiere on PBS’s Independent Lens next year.

Directed by Noam Osband and Sebastián Díaz, A Thousand Pines is set in the beautiful and sometimes unforgiving landscape of the United States’ national forests. The first documentary to tell the story of workers in the US timber industry follows Raymundo Morales, the foreman of a crew of migrant workers from Oaxaca, Mexico, who depend on the controversial guest worker visa program. Filmed over the course of a year, between their hometown and the US, they must make the decision every year if they will leave their families in rural Mexico, or if they will return for another eight-month season of planting commercial pine forests.

The documentary follows the crew for a year, during an entire season of planting and their short time back home with their families. They struggle 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.

Raymundo is in his 20th season working for the largest reforestation company in the US. When he began, he was single and had few responsibilities. Now, however, he must balance his obligations to his wife, his children, and his elderly mother with a heart condition, while also tending to the needs and emergencies of the planting crew. For Raymundo, who spends a few months at home during the off-season, his job is both the family’s salvation and its heartbreak.

A Thousand Pines was born out of co-director Osband’s work as an anthropologist investigating American, Canadian, and Mexican tree planters. He worked several seasons in the role to understand the lives of workers inside the US wood production industry, the world’s largest producer of wood and paper products.

With unprecedented access inside the forestry industry and migrant communities, Osband and Díaz, himself an immigrant, take an emotional journey into a never-before-seen world of reforestation workers. Featuring two songs by Grammy-winning singer Lila Downs, A Thousand Pines is a tale of labor and family that shines a light into an underreported aspect of immigration and honors their sacrifices.

Confirmed film festivals:
New York Latino Film Festival: September 15-24, New York, NY
Eugene Environmental Film Festival: September 29-October 4, Eugene, OR
Buffalo International Film Festival: October 5-9, Buffalo, NY
Green Film Festival of San Francisco: October 12-22, San Francisco, CA
Morelia Film Festival: October 20-29, Morelia, Mexico

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