This excellent documentary takes us into another world; the world of rogue loggers and firefighters turned eco-warriors. The story begins as an arsonist burns 9000 acres of protected old-growth public forest in Oregon that can not be logged unless it burns. To stop the proposed "salvage" logging of this incredible ancient forest, citizens are moved to blockade a road and keep the government out. After facing down a bulldozer and the State Police, the fort now known as the gateway to the Cascadia Free State becomes the focus for a developing community dedicated to protecting ancient forests throughout the mountains of Oregon.
The film shows confrontations with disgruntled loggers, mass arrests and a 75 day hunger strike. Back at Warner Creek activists build teepees and remain a living blockade on the logging road through the winter and ten feet of snow. Political pressure begins to shift and the White House promises a deal but not before Federal Agents come to bust the camp and destroy the fort. The story resolves with incredible footage of a mass jail break-in and unconditional victory for the forest. This inspiring documentary is two years in the making, and crafted from footage shot by more than two dozen people involved in the struggle to save Warner Creek. Principal photography and direction are by guerilla videographer Tim Lewis, award winner at WorldFest in 1998. Codirector/producer Tim Ream was involved in the action on and off the screen.
An eclectic mix of activists take a stand to protect an old growth forest from logging at Warner Creek in the Willamette National Forest of Oregon, blockading the logging road and repelling the State Police. Over months a community builds around the illegal blockade as it develops into the Cascadia Free State and similar actions spread across the region. Years after its release, Pickaxe has become a classic document of the potential for grassroots direct action to achieve victory against the forces of both government and big business. Lovingly crafted by the participants themselves, the film expertly presents every moment, from confrontation to celebration.