Private Project

Before the Trees Was Strange

A personal documentary about love, forgiveness and redemption

  • Derek Burrows
  • Indrani Kopal
  • Derek Burrows
  • Derek Burrows
  • Indrani Kopal
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 25 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 26, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    300,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9, 4:3
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Derek Burrows, Indrani Kopal

Derek Burrows – Musician - Storyteller- Filmmaker
Derek is a master storyteller, modern troubadour, and filmmaker, as well as a web designer, filmmaker and photographer. He is a co-founder, with Greg French and Gregory Fried, of the Mirror of Race project and is currently making a personal documentary called Before the Trees Was Strange.

One of four national storytellers, Derek was invited to the first National Book Festival sponsored by the White House and First Lady Laura Bush.
As a storyteller, Derek specializes in Afro-Caribbean and African Diaspora tales, among other styles and traditions, including his own compositions; he has been “telling” for over two decades in the New England area, across the country, and internationally (in both Spanish and English), and he often does work in schools, using stories to teach tolerance.
As a musician, Derek has performed for over 30 years with Voice of the Turtle (Derek sings, play flamenco guitar, bagpipes, flute, and many other instruments, medieval and modern).
Derek's singular style is filled with textures and colors, whether telling stories, playing music, leading workshops or presenting original works. Weaving together flights of the imagination with tones and rhythms, his dynamic presentations re-affirm the power of words and the commonly loved language of music. A true native of the Bahamas, he carries on the tradition of entertaining and educating wherever he goes, whomever he meets.

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Director Statement

This film has been three years in the making with footage shot from 30 years ago and throughout my lifetime. I have always worked on issues of Racism and experiencing it in my own family made me want to make this film, to approach the issue of race though a very personal area, family and how we often forgive or accept the ones we love who might be racists and how the act of not calling them out often perpetuates racism.