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  • Writer's pictureTony Bell


Story by Tony Bell, Editorial Contributors: Jorie Langston & Periel Llewellyn, March 16, 2024

Embarking on a journey to the illustrious 2023 Cannes Film Festival in France was nothing short of a dream come true for me and my esteemed colleague Jessica Marcy. The honor of being selected for such a prestigious event was a testament to the passion and dedication we poured into our cinematic creation, "A Tree Story: Gullah Geechee Roots and Resilience." Our film delves into the rich cultural tapestry of Johns Island, addressing pressing issues like overdevelopment, climate change, gentrification, and the crucial preservation of the Angel Oak tree, a symbol of natural beauty and historical significance. The Lowcountry Land Trust played a pivotal role in saving the Angel Oak tree and the 35 acres surrounding it, a crucial victory in the face of burgeoning new developments.

Walking the red carpet at Cannes, surrounded by the luminaries of the film industry, was a surreal experience. The realization that people halfway across the world found our short film about the challenges faced by the Gullah Geechee community compelling was both humbling and exhilarating. The international audience's positive reception underscored the global relevance of the issues we explored in "A Tree Story," resonating with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

As I navigated the bustling streets of Cannes, I couldn't help but marvel at the interconnectedness of our world and the power of storytelling to bridge cultural gaps. The festival provided a platform for meaningful conversations about the universal themes of environmental conservation and community resilience, transcending geographical boundaries.


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