Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai (2008)

  • Co-Director: : Alan Dater
  • Co-Director/Producer: Lisa Merton
Film Length:
80" and 53"
Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai Facebook

TAKING ROOT tells the story of the Green Belt Movement of Kenya and its founder Wangari Maathai, the first environmentalist and first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. In response to rural women's problems stemming from a degraded environment, Maathai suggested they plant trees. Starting with this simple act, these women worked successively against deforestation, poverty, and violent political oppression until they became a uniting force that helped to bring down Kenya's 24-year dictatorship. In the process, they have planted 46 million trees to date! This has restored local livelihoods and watersheds, improved microclimates and quality of life.

TAKING ROOT follows Maathai's courageous and inspiring thirty-year journey to safeguard the environment, protect human rights and defend democracy.

The Film Campaign

Issue: Community Development, Education, Environment, Human Rights


New Day Films


  • Asheville Film Festival, 2008 - Best Documentary
  • Council on Foundations, 2009 - Henry Hampton Award for Film and Digital Media 2009
  • Durban International Film Festival, 2008, Durban, South Africa - Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award
  • Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, 2008 - Full Frame Women in Leadership Award
  • Green International Film Festival, 2009, Seoul, Korea - Audience Award
  • Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2008 - Audience Award Winner
  • International Images Film Festival for Women, 2009, Zimbabwe - Best Documentary
  • Mendocino Film Festival, 2009 - Best Documentary, Audience Award
  • Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal, 2008, Montréal, Quebec - Prix ÉcoCaméra 2008, Prix du Public 2008

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