ACTION: Knockrow filmmaker Marli Lopez-Hope filming for her latest documentary on Victoria’s Toolangi State Forest.
ACTION: Knockrow filmmaker Marli Lopez-Hope filming for her latest documentary on Victoria’s Toolangi State Forest. Tavis Pinnington

Young filmmaker documents threatened carbon-rich forests

KNOCKROW wildlife documentary filmmaker Marli Lopez-Hope is tackling her next biggest project - a short film unearthing the effects of logging on the world's most carbon-rich forest in Victoria.

At just 21-years-old, Ms Lopez-Hope has already build an impressive portfolio, spending three weeks in Antarctica working with National Geographic and a month filming wildlife in Botswana's Okavango Delta with South Africa's Wildlife Film Academy.

She said her latest documentary, which is part of her final year major project at Swinburne University, tackles a major issue that has somehow escaped the public limelight.

"It's a story about the world's most carbon-rich forest which exists in Australia, which is pretty incredible," she said.

"As well as being the world's most carbon-rich forest, it's also very much under threat of Victoria's logging coupes."

Ms Lopez-Hope's short documentary will explore the flora and fauna of Victoria's Toolangi State Forest, like the highly-endangered Leadbeater's Possum, carnivorous Otway black snail and the Toolangi Lyrebird.

"This documentary is following the life of these endangered animal species and the life of this forest before, during and after the presence of state logging coupes," she said.

"Thanks to the world's tallest flowering tree, the Mountain Ash tree, which only grows in Australia, the whole forest works as an incredible ecosystem and factory for holding a lot of Australia's carbon dioxide."

Ms Lopez-Hope said the tree takes between 50 and 100 years to reach maturity, where it can absorb significant amounts of carbon dioxide, and 150 years before it hollows itself out to become a home for the Leadbeater's Possum.

She said the story structure of the documentary would begin in the undergrowth of a protected area of the forest, introducing the audience to all the different animals and exposing their unique behaviours and their connection to the Mountain Ash tree.

The documentary will then use drones to take the audience above the canopy, where they'll be exposed to logging site from an aerial view.


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