A Feature Length documentary by Michael Obert

As a young man, American Louis Sarno heard a song on the radio that gripped his imagination. He followed the mysterious sounds all the way to the Central African rainforest and found their source with the Bayaka Pygmies, a tribe of hunters and gatherers. He never left.

Today, twenty-five years later, Louis Sarno has recorded over 1,000 hours of unique Bayaka music. He is a fully accepted member of the Bayaka society and has a 13 year old son, Samedi. Once, when Samedi was a baby, he became seriously ill and Louis feared for his life. He held his son in his arms through a frightful night and made him a promise: “If you get through this, one day I’ll show you the world I come from.”
Now the time has come to fulfill his promise, and Louis travels with Samedi from the African rainforest to another jungle, one of concrete, glass, and asphalt: New York City. Together, they meet Louis’s family and old friends, including his closest friend from college, Jim Jarmusch.

Carried by the contrasts between rainforest and urban America, with a fascinating soundtrack and peaceful, loving imagery, their stories are interwoven to form a touching portrait of an extraordinary man, and his son. A modern epic between rainforest and skyscrapers.


For further information, news and press visit WWW.SONGFROMTHEFOREST.COM



Cast and Crew:

with: Louis Sarno, Samedi Mathurin Bokombe, Jim Jarmusch, Noel Lobley, Wanda Boeke, Steven Sarno, François Moukouté and others Director: Michael Obert Producer: Alex Tondowski, Ira Tondowski, DoP: Siri Klug Editor: Wiebke Grundler Location Sound: Timo Selegnia Supervising Sound Editor: Marian Mentrup Co-Production:, Heino Deckert and WDR, Jutta Krug Supported by Film Fund: Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg

The Bayaka Project

Parallel to our work on SONG FROM THE FOREST, Tondowski Films & Friends and Michael Obert have given life to the BAYAKA PROJECT. Independent of political and religious ties, this not-for-profit’s objective is to support Louis Sarno and his community in their fight for survival. The project will provide improved medical supplies, food, and education as well as contribute to the Bayaka's musical heritage. The organisation and management of the BAYAKA PROJECT will be community-led and driven by an ethos of cultural self-determination and indigenous rights. Half of the profits generated by SONG FROM THE FOREST for Tondowski Films & Friends will go directly to the Bayaka Project.

Song from the forest gewann den Preis Bester Feature Documentary beim IDFA in 2013, den Bester deutsche Dokumentarfilm in 2015, ist bei mehr als hundert Festivals gelaufen darunter South by Southwest, BFA, NYC DOC und wurde in 15 Ländern verkauft.