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Documentary film 'Racist Trees' broadcast on PBS

The feature-length documentary film Racist Trees, helmed by Sara Newens and Mina T. Son, graduates of the MFA program in Documentary Film (2011), made its debut on PBS on January 22, 2024. Following its initial premiere at IDFA, the film garnered attention, with John Legend joining as an executive producer. Viewers can stream Racist Trees on the PBS app now through April 2024.

About the Documentary

In Palm Springs, a historically Black neighborhood fights to remove a divisive wall of trees.

Were trees intentionally planted to exclude and segregate a Black neighborhood?

Racial tensions ignite in this documentary, when a historically Black neighborhood in Palm Springs, California, fights to remove a towering wall of tamarisk trees. The trees form a barrier, believed by some to segregate the community, frustrating residents who regard them as an enduring symbol of racism.

The Filmmakers

Sara Newens is an award-winning filmmaker and editor based in Los Angeles. She received Primetime Emmy nominations for her work on Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields and Allen v. Farrow and served as editor/writer for On the Record. She has directed two features with Mina T. Son, Top Spin and Racist Trees, through their company Wild Pair Films.

Mina T. Son is a Korean American filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She founded Wild Pair Films with Sara Newens. Their debut documentary feature, Top Spin, streamed on Netflix. Racist Trees is Wild Pair Films' second documentary feature. Mina is in post-production on a longitudinal documentary about Japan's 2011 tsunami.