Desolation Peak is a point in the American wilderness with a single fire lookout tower. This short documentary, Ode to Desolation, features an illustrator and naturalist who spends his summers as one of the few remaining fire lookouts working for the National Forest Service.
The documentary is beautifully shot and edited, with a slow and calming pace. Directed by Lindsey Hagen, it explores the isolation of nature but also the calming effects. In the words of protagonist Jim Henterly, spending time on the fire lookout is when his life feels the fullest.
But the future is changing things. After a retrospective of Jim’s life raising a family in the summers at Desolation Peak, the need for humans is dwindling. In the words of DP Chris Naum:
With the influence of technology and AI threatening to make his role obsolete, we look into the future and ask ourselves what connections we will maintain to keep our human interpretation of the natural world alive.
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