The Guardians


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Mon, Sep 10, 2018 6:00 PM
Film Info
Director:Ben Crosbie
Tessa Moran
Year of Production:2017
Premiere Status:San Francisco Premiere
Topic:Climate Action
Indigenous People
Wildlife Protection
Running Time:70 min.


A visually dazzling meditation on the delicate balance between human and nature, The Guardians elegantly interweaves the lives of the iconic monarch butterfly with an indigenous community in Mexico. Both depend on the same ancient forest for their survival and now face an uncertain future.

Migrating 3,000 miles to hibernate in the towering Oyamels, the monarch population faces collapse, hitting a record low of 33 million, down from 1 billion just twenty years ago. In the valley below, the people of Donaciano Ojeda must carve out a sustainable future in their ancestral lands now part of the protected Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Once loggers of this forest, they’ve made a radical decision to stop and to regrow it instead.

Santos, a charismatic avocado farmer and Aristeo, a philosophical tree caretaker are the storytellers of the community as they face new threats of illegal logging, internal divisions, and their own mortality.

Shot over three years, this intimate documentary takes viewers on a cinematic journey through the butterfly dense mountaintops of Michoacan as the community works to build a sustainable path forward. Rarely has the communion of human and nature been told in such an evocative and surprising way, leaving viewers with a new perspective on the ecological challenges facing us all.

Expected guests: Director Tessa Moran; Karen Topakian (discussion emcee), Greenpeace USA


Program Sponsors:

Hotel Carlton            New Resource Bank

Community Partners: Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco

Ben Crosbie and Tesa MoranBen Crosbie and Tessa Moran have been producing films together for nearly 10 years. Their previous film Fate of a Salesman aired on the public television series America Reframed and received WORLD channel’s first ever Emmy nomination at the 36th annual News & Documentary Emmys. Their first feature film, Keeping the Kibbutz, also aired on WORLD following a successful festival and community screening tour around the US and Europe. They are the co-founders of Eidolon Films, an innovative documentary production company that tells stories of human resilience and hope and helps organizations raise funds, increase awareness and move minds through the power of film.

Included Shorts

Ciclo (17min) More