Every spring thousands of cash-strapped university students and rugged environmentalists trek into the B.C. bush. With shovels strapped to their MEC backpacks and hiking boots in hand, crews follow dusty logging roads deep into the wilderness and set up camp for a season of slinging saplings. In his delightful documentary, Franz Otto: Ultimate Highballer, former Vancouverite Adam Humphreys pays homage to this West Coast rite of passage, unearthing the true essence of what it means to be a tree planter, and shedding light on the legendary "highballer" planter known as "Franz Otto".
The playful documentary—which screens tonight at 8 p.m. at Cineworks Annex (Ironworks Building, 235 Alexander St.)—features renowned international artist Sarah Anne Johnson, industry pioneer and counter-cultural industrialist Dirk Brinkman, the late Canadian ice climber Guy Lacelle, and former world record holding planter Ken Chaplin, among others. The mysterious Otto himself also makes a rare appearance.
For anyone who's ever thrown on a draw bag, jumped in the crummy, and laboured through a 10-hour planting shift, Franz Otto: Ultimate Highballer is for you.