The Walking Forest

In 2012, filmmaker Michelangelo Frammartino came to Satriano di Lucania to film Alberi  (“Tree”), a cine-installation project that was shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The work was based on the charcter of the Romito, a treelike man who, according to the myth, rejected the idea of migration and planted his roots in his own land. Following the film, the local residents of this southern Italian town decided to expand this nearly forgotten ritual that once formed part of the carnival tradition. Their modern-day festival is no longer about a few hermits, but the whole community together. Inspired by Frammartino, director Maria Gimenez Cavallo journeyed down to the depths of Basilicata to film the magical walking forest in Satriano di Lucania. She wanted to experience the magic of a hundred tree-men emerging from the woods to dance in the town square. In her documentary, Cavallo explores the evolution of this ancestral tradition and celebrates the union of humans and the natural world.