Oakland Trails Releases Old Survivor Documentary Film




October 11, 2018

OAKLAND, CA – OAKLAND TRAILS is proud to announce the release of its second documentary film project, Old Survivor: Celebrating Oakland’s Redwoods, featuring the last known old-growth redwood tree in the East Bay hills, and connecting viewers to the history and ecology of Oakland’s redwood forest. Contact Oakland Trails to attend or host a screening. (Details below.)

With 750 people in attendance, the film premiered on Tuesday, October 9 at Chabot Space & Science Center during the Centennial Celebration Week of Save the Redwoods League, a week-long series of events commemorating 100 years of protecting California’s redwood forests. The League’s President and CEO, Sam Hodder, spoke at the premiere and stressed the importance of restoring the young, recovering forests that surround and sustain the remaining ancient trees, like Old Survivor.

“The Old Survivor film is a terrific story with many heroes, from the nonprofit partners and public agencies that steward our parks to the redwoods themselves,” said Hodder. “With only five percent of the original, ancient coast redwood forest left standing today, Old Survivor and the young forest of the East Bay that surrounds it are evidence that 100 years is just the beginning of our work to save our redwood forests. Together with our supporters and partners, we can now focus our effort on a new era of conservation by restoring what we have lost.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was also in attendance. After viewing the documentary, she publicly thanked Stan Dodson, founder of Oakland Trails and executive producer of the film, for his gift to Oakland.

“Old Survivor” features the East Bay’s only remaining old-growth redwood tree, to tell the story of Oakland’s historic, ecologically amazing, and now protected redwood forest. Featuring Save the Redwoods League, City of Oakland Parks, and the East Bay Regional Park District, the film promotes outdoor recreation and open space networks, encourages stewardship, celebrates local history, and educates the viewer about redwood forest ecology.

Oakland Trails worked with filmmakers Emily Fraser, with whom Dodson co-produced “Trailhead “ (2015), and Nicholas Berger. Together, Fraser and Berger make up Pinecone Pictures.

To host a screening event, contact Oakland Trails at https://oaklandtrails.org/contact/. To purchase a private copy, attend an upcoming screening event as listed at https://oaklandtrails.org/old-survivor-events/. With film festival submissions pending, the new film isn’t scheduled for release online until summer, 2019. To view the trailer, visit the film website at https://oaklandtrails.org/old-survivor/.

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Goundas Diiullo, Communications Director, Oakland Trails        
Phone: (510) 842-3676
Email: jennifer@BWMagency.com

Ashley Boarman, Landis Communications, Save the Redwoods League
Phone: (415) 359-2312
Email: redwoods@landispr.com

About Oakland Trails
Oakland Trails is an all volunteer organization dedicated to promoting, maintaining, and enhancing the City of Oakland’s wildland parks and trails. Oakland Trails was founded by Stan Dodson in 2010, and is sponsored by the Oakland Parks & Recreation Foundation. For more information visit OaklandTrails.org.

About Save the Redwoods League
Save the Redwoods League, one of the nation’s oldest conservation organizations, is
connecting generations of visitors with their peace and beauty. With more than 20,000 supporters, the League has protected more than 200,000 acres of irreplaceable forest and helped create 66 redwood parks and reserves. For more information, go to SaveTheRedwoods.org, or to sign up for updates, please visit SaveTheRedwoods.org/signup.

About East Bay Regional Park District
The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful parklands and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to the east of San Francisco. The system comprises 121,397 acres in 73 parks, including over 1,250 miles of trails. Preserving a rich heritage of natural and cultural resources and providing open space, parks, trails, and safe and healthful recreation, an environmental ethic guides the District in all of its activities. Visit ebparks.org

World Premiere of “Old Survivor: Celebrating Oakland’s Redwoods”


Join us on opening night as a special guest of Oakland Trails!

Presented by Oakland Trails in association with Pinecone Pictures, our new 22-minute documentary highlights “Old Survivor”, the last known remaining old-growth redwood in the East Bay hills, and tells the story of Oakland’s resilient, ecologically amazing, and now protected redwood forest. This free event will feature multiple screenings, guest speakers, and a reception outside the theater doors where you’ll be able to mingle with the filmmakers, partnering nonprofits, and our many supporters. Refreshments will be served from 6pm–9pm.

Save the Redwoods League – A Centennial Celebration Event

The World Premiere of Old Survivor will simultaneously serve as Save the Redwood League’s Centennial Celebration in Oakland. Join us as we recognize the 100th anniversary of Save the Redwoods League and celebrate their conservation legacy to protect California’s incredible coast redwood and giant sequoia forests in the last century.

Old Survivor World Premiere Event
Tuesday, October 9, 5:30pm–10:00pm
Chabot Space & Science Center
Showtimes: 5:45, 6:45, 7:30, 8:15, 9:00
Runtime: 22 minutes

This is a private event for members and special guests of Oakland Trails. To receive an invitation, join our newsletter by September 15 at OaklandTrails.org/sign-up



Filming “Old Survivor”: Day 10

Today was a double! We started by filming an important collaboration: volunteers from Oakland Trails, Friends of Sausal Creek, the Bicycle trails Council, and staff from Oakland Public Works teaming up to begin the Camp Trail reroute. These groups work together monthly if not weekly. From clearing logs to harvesting bracken fern rhizomes, we couldn’t make a real documentary about Oakland’s wildland parks without getting these men and women in it.

Then, it was my turn to be in the hot seat.

Filming “Old Survivor”: Day 9

I don’t know anyone who wasn’t shocked and saddened to hear that Annie wasn’t running for reelection to Oakland’s City Council in November. She’s been a huge supporter and important partner for our work in Oakland parks. Today we had a chance to capture our friendship.


Filming “Old Survivor”: Day 8

Meet Jason Mitchell, an East Oakland kid who is now the director of Oakland Public Works. To meet the demands of maintaing our city and our parks, he’s leading the department through a series of changes, depending on technology and collaboration, including with Oakland citizen volunteers.

Filming “Old Survivor”: Day 7

Since October, 2017, we have been assisting OPD’s newly resurrected mounted patrol, helping the officers to get reacquainted with the trail system, and helping to temperament train the horses. Today we got some footage of OPD and Park Patrol volunteers riding the trails together in Joaquin Miller Park.

Filming “Old Survivor”: Day 6

Emily Burns is not only the lead scientist at Save the Redwoods League. She is one of only a handful of leading experts studying to understand the wonders of the redwood forests. Participating in her interview today – inside Joaquin Miller Park’s redwood grove – was educational and inspiring (to say the least).

Filming “Old Survivor”: Day 5

Part 1

We started the day by having an in-depth discussion with Robert Doyle, General Manager of the East Bay Regional Park District. Mr. Doyle, who started working at for the park district 40 years ago as a ranger, talked us through the district’s storied history, modern day successes, and future goals.

Part 2

In the afternoon, we met up with a group of young ladies from First Place for Youth, an organization that offers critical support to foster youth between the ages of 18 and 24. There’s no volunteer activity I love more than leading Oakland youth and youth group leaders on a hiking tour in Oakland’s redwoods. Starting in Joaquin Miller Park, we made our way up to Redwood Peak before heading back down the hill.

Filming “Old Survivor”: Day 4

Today we interviewed an old friend, Nicholas Williams, Director of Oakland Parks, Recreation, and Youth Development.

An Oakland native who left for college, then ran recreation programs in Atlanta and Minneapolis before coming back to Oakland in 2016 to lead our parks department, Nicholas gave a touching tribute to his dad, who he connected with as a child in Oakland parks. He also gave a detailed description of the rebranding of his department from OPR to OPRYD, and his commitment to connecting kids to nature.

Filming “Old Survivor”: Day 2

On a rainy Thursday morning, we met up with Oakland youth from Skyline High School. They were on a science field trip in Redwood Park led by Save the Redwoods League and East Bay Regional Park District staff.

Despite the cold, wet weather, everyone was in great spirits to learn some science. The 9th grade biology students conducted the same experiments that professional scientists perform to measure the biomass of individual redwood trees, and log in measurements of ferns.

We also found some interesting critters on an exploratory hike through the area.

We finished the day by interviewing a few of the students, and Deborah Zierten, Education & Interpretation Manager for Save the Redwoods League.

Press Release: Feb 6, 2018




February 6th, 2018

OAKLAND, CA – OAKLAND TRAILS is proud to announce the launch of its second documentary film, Old Survivor: Celebrating the East Bay Redwoods. The project is now in pre-production with filming to begin in March, 2018.

“We are thrilled to follow up the success of our first film, Trailhead, with a celebration of Oakland’s amazing redwoods,” said Stan Dodson, film producer and founder of Oakland Trails. Trailhead, released in October 2015, has since been screened in over 60 venues around the San Francisco Bay Area, and can be streamed online at https://OaklandTrails.org/watch/.

The upcoming film will feature iconic “Old Survivor,” the East Bay’s only remaining old-growth redwood, as the centerpiece to tell the story of the East Bay’s historic, ecologically-amazing, and now-protected redwood forest. Featuring stories from Save the Redwoods League, City of Oakland Parks, and the East Bay Regional Park District, the film will promote outdoor recreation and open space networks, encourage stewardship, celebrate local history, and educate the viewer about forest ecology, connecting people to the redwoods in their own backyard.

Oakland Trails is working with filmmaker Emily Fraser, who co-produced Trailhead. Runtime is anticipated to be approximately 20 minutes.

The Premiere Event will be held at the Chabot Space & Science Center on the evening of Tuesday, October 9, 2018, and will simultaneously serve as Save the Redwoods League’s Centennial Celebration in Oakland. Local partners and community groups will be invited to table at the reception, where 1,200+ attendees are expected over the course of the evening.

Corporate sponsorships are still available. To learn more, visit the film website at https://oaklandtrails.org/old-survivor/.

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Goundas Diiullo, Communications Director                                                        

Phone: 510-842-3676

Email: jennifer@BWMagency.com

Download a pdf of this press release HERE.

Filming “Old Survivor”: Day 1


Our first day of filming was with experienced drone operator Jonathan Clark. He captured some amazing overhead shots of Oakland parkland, close-ups of Old Survivor, and some beauty shots in Leona Heights and Dimond Canyon. We could get film permits for the drone only in the dead of winter, avoiding nesting season.