WATCH FROM HOME: Voices of the Rainforest

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Produced by Steven Feld and Dennis Leonard
Directed by Steven Feld and Jeremiah Ra Richards
color, 67 min, 2019

Available on DSL and DVD

Voices of the Rainforest: A Day in the Life of Bosavi is a 70-minute cinema concert–an experiential documentary about the ecological and aesthetic coevolution of Papua New Guinea’s Bosavi rainforest region and its inhabitants. Through sound and image, the film immerses viewers in the rainforest, and makes audible myriad connections between the everyday sounds of the rainforest biosphere and the creative practices of singing to, with, and about it by the Bosavi people. Structured around a day in the life of the rainforest and the music it inspires for the Bosavi people, the film brings to life the everyday activities of work, leisure, and ritual–heard in the full ambient setting of the rainforest–throughout the day and night.

Voices of the Rainforest was produced by Steven Feld and Dennis Leonard and Directed by Steven Feld and Jeremiah Ra Richards in collaboration with the Bona community of Bosavi, Papua New Guinea. Feld conducted anthropological and ethnomusicological fieldwork in Bosavi from 1975 to 2000. The original Voices of the Rainforest CD was produced during this time (1991) with production support from Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. Working with acclaimed sound editor Dennis Leonard at Skywalker Sound in 2016-2017, Feld recomposed a 25th anniversary 7.1 Voices soundtrack. A 2018 return to Bosavi with filmmaker Jeremiah Ra Richards and digitization of Feld’s extensive archival photographs led to the creation of the immersive film joined to the 7.1 soundtrack.

Voices of the Rainforest is the first in a series of films based on Feld’s work. While Voices offers a visualization of the original audio experience, New Voices of the Rainforest, the companion film, will provide an update on the state of the forest and the problems of development in what remains a remote and underserved region of Papua New Guinea.

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