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

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

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Goundas Diiullo, Communications Director                                                        

Phone: 510-842-3676


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.