“Logging is the most dangerous job on the planet, the hazardous tree removal end of it, the climbing end of it, that’s another level of it, another level of danger.” Video director Keith Musil presents a portrait of the only known licensed Black American hazardous tree removal specialist on the American West Coast.
Inspired by the black and white photography that captured the Pacific Northwest logging enterprises of the 1890s, this film follows Micheal Berry, who at the early age of twelve found himself slipping into a perpetual cycle of crime. After nearly twenty years of being in and out of the system, Micheal’s life changes when he learns the hazardous tree removal trade in a California prison camp.
Micheal isn’t your typical “Axe Man” in the middle of the wilderness cutting down trees. Hazardous tree removal, the way Micheal does it, is complicated. Without the use of heavy machinery, he can remove a tree, no matter its size or location by himself with nothing more than some rope and a chainsaw. After spending half his life doing a job he loves, Micheal reflects upon responsible forest maintenance and the profound connection we as humans have with trees.