THE ANCIENT FOREST
Who we are
LESFILM unites wildlife filmmakers, animators, environmental conservationists and scientists who are among the leading experts in Russian wildlife. Our goal is to create wildlife films with unique visuals and sounds that would urge viewers to preserve
the fragile environment.
Our cinematography is rooted in the energy and rhythms
of nature, we rely upon its fine-tuned system, immerse into it — following its rules that sometimes are elusive to the standard human perception. Our team uses the most current filming techniques to capture the life of flora and fauna. LESFILM also specializes in the recording of fauna and nature soundscapes.
About the film
Our goal is to uncover hidden mysteries and raise awareness of the endangered primary forests — the main protagonist of our stories. The forest is home to thousands of species; it is itself a living entity, setting the unspoken rules, each followed by every inhabitant of the ecosystem: from a single blade of grass to a bear.
Only by carefully observing life within the intact forests may we learn about the laws of nature. The viewer will be given an opportunity to plunge into the universe of forests, experience the pace of their inhabitants' lives, and feel the harmony and the fragility of their construction.
Genre
Nature documentary, popular science, family
Filming territory
Russia
Runtime
60 min feature or/and 52 min series for broadcasting
Release
2023
With the informational
support of
Synopsis
Among the most important areas that remain unaltered since prehistoric times are old-growth forests. Such untouched islands of forest, rather moderate in their size, are being protected by a few Nature reserves and National parks in Russia. An average visitor may not be able to enter the very heart of the old-growth Eurasian forests. What we commonly call 'forests' are generally forest plantations or young secondary forests that have emerged at the sites of primary ones.

Our film provides a rare opportunity to observe the forests that have not suffered from hundreds of years of human disturbance. We travel through various types of forests: Northern coniferous and Far-Eastern taiga, Southern deciduous and mountain forests.
As landscapes and seasons change, we encounter numerous inhabitants of the forests — mammals, birds, insects, other invertebrates, plants and fungi.

The film will explain the crucial role that Northern Eurasian forests play in the life of our planet: through oxygen production and carbon fixation, soil formation, water retention, their effect on the climate and the preservation of biological diversity.

The film will specifically show the flora and fauna of the Korean pine broad-leaved forests of the Far East which are characterized by the great variety of species with different origins. The 'Southern' and 'Northern' species form diverse ecosystems of the Ussuri forest which ecologists refer to as 'The Northern Jungle'.
Protagonists
Key species of trees which are the major ecosystem engineers will become protagonists of the film: The Common Oak, The Siberian Pine, The Siberian Larch, The Oriental Beech and The Korean Pine.

Each such titan is a biotope; being alive, or even after falling, it provides food, home, shelter or rest to hundreds of species: fungi, plants, insects and animals. The hidden links that trees create within the ecosystem will be explored by our cameras and become visible to the viewers.
The goals of the project
To evoke the feeling of belonging and responsibility for the future of forests
To draw attention to the real situation with forests, provoke an understanding, evaluation and — ultimately — action to halt and reverse the destructive process of deforestation
To create a thorough and full portrait of unique Russian old-growth forests
Commitment
Awareness
A portrait
To create high quality soundscapes and video recordings of unique natural phenomena occurring in the forests of Russia which will help in future science and media projects
To describe the importance of Northern Eurasian forests for the life of the whole planet especially in global warming processes
To show the seemingly hidden stories of the forest and the roles of its inhabitants in the ecosystem
Libraries
Global importance
Revelation
Our mission
To draw attention to the real situation with forests, urge understanding, evaluation and action to halt the destructive process of deforestation. In order to raise awareness of the problem scenes of anthropogenic forest fires and logging will be filmed.
Locations
Primary forests and their inhabitants will be filmed on the territories of national parks, reserves, and locations from the UNESCO World Heritage List of natural territories:

— Old oak forests of Central Russia
— The virgin Komi forests
— The Western Caucasus
— The Golden Mountains of Altai
— Sikhote-Alin Ussuri forests
1. Bryansky Les Nature Reserve
2. Kaluzhskiye Zaseki Nature Reserve
3. The Central Forest Nature Reserve
4. Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve
5. Caucasus Nature Reserve
6. Altai Nature Reserve
7. Katun Nature Reserve
8. Bikin National Park
9. Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve
10. Ussurisky Nature Reserve
Co-production is considered
In development
Green Screen
Festival Pitching
Current stage
Applying for commissioning and grants
Looking for partners
Preparing for the crowdfunding
Additional project
Animation series about forests involving European and Russian artists:
  1. Jean Bouthors (France)
  2. Matthieu Gérard Tulane (France)
  3. Ariane Theillet (France)
  4. Rémy Schaepman (France)
  5. Nina Bisyarina (Russia)
  6. Olga Ezova-Denisova (Russia)
  7. Ula Voitova (Russia)
  8. Loïc Espuche (France)
As a side project of the Ancient Forest film we consider the possibility of arranging international residencies for the French and Russian animators in the indicatied national parks and nature reserves to show forests in new artistic and creative ways.
IDEA
IGOR SHPILENOK — an environmental activist, founder of the Bryansky Forest Nature Reserve, nature photographer, writer. Igor travels across Russia documenting its wild places. The camera is Igor's most powerful and faithful companion in the struggle to protect the Russian wilderness — an integral part of the global ecological balance.
Igor is a regular contributor to National Wildlife, Ranger Rick, Russian Life, National Geographic Russia, Canadian Wildlife, Geo Germany, and BBC Wildlife magazines, among others.
Previous project
Kamchatka Bears. Life Begins
The beautiful meditative film by LESFILM brings the audience up close to the first and the most eventful year of brown bear cubs' lives and their adventures. Kamchatka Bears. Life Begins is a film that differs from other nature documentaries. The movie has already received 24 awards at 45 festivals in 20 countries total.