In a time of growing income inequality in America, there is one asset that remains in the hands of the American people: the 640 million acres of America’s Public Lands. Given its status as the last large-scale public asset on the planet, powerful forc-es have aligned to attempt the largest land grab in modern history, rob Americans of this unique birthright, and make modern day vassals of the American people.
PUBLIC TRUST explores the topic of public lands by interweaving three layers of narrative: Ongoing, character-driven land battles, a character-driven political exposé, and historical context provided by historians and journalists. These are not distinct topics, but rather an uninterrupted story of mankind’s relationship to land and resources in North America that will be woven together seamlessly in the film. To create a coherent narrative, we will be following Hal Herring, a journalist who has dedicated his life to exploring the paradigm of public lands, as he tracks down these stories and puts together the puzzle pieces to expose the largest land heist in modern history.
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DAVID BYARS, DIRECTOR
BYARS made his directorial debut at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival with NO MAN’S LAND (Tribeca 2017, Independent Lens), a documentary about the 2016 militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that sparked inter-national headlines. Byars also produced and lensed MASSACRE RIVER (Hot Docs 2019, ITVS) Suzan Beraza’s film about statelessness in the Dominican Republic.
JEREMY RUBINGH, PRODUCER
JEREMY has worked for the last decade at the nexus of politics and conservation in the West for foundations and strategic think-tanks where he developed messaging, media strategy, diverse voice engagement and innovative tactics on a variety of public land and clean energy issues. His most recent work in film was as an executive producer with the Story Group on the short film UNACCEPTABLE RISK: FIREFIGHTERS ON THE FRONTLINES OF CLIMATE CHANGE, and as director and producer on several other projects, including an award-winning short film, RED LADY: THE BATTLE FOR YOUR MOUNTAINS focused on 1872 mining reform in a small Colorado community.