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1 x 50 minutes

Soft, icy flakes delicately drift through the ancient snow-covered Andes Mountains in central Chile. The snowflakes gently settle on the limbs of a majestic tree. Araucana, also known as a Monkey Puzzle Tree. Its most distinguished feature is the tree’s leaves; rigid scales with spiny tips that spiral around the tree’s branches. It’s these leaves that indirectly give the tree its name; there are no monkeys found in Chile, but it’s believed that a monkey would find it quite difficult to scale a tree with such hazardous leaves... a puzzle for monkeys. 

Monkey Puzzles belong to an ancient family of trees called conifers; these trees reproduce by means of cones instead of flowers. A tree can be either be male or female, and the gender of the tree is determined by its cones. 

This is a female tree. Her cones, known as seed cones, are spherical orbs covered with green spikes, and even these takes quite a while to mature, up to 18 months. But for the tree to produce seeds, she needs a male to pollenate her cones, fortunately there is a great specimen in the neighbourhood. 

As the days progressively gets warmer, an incessant tap-tapping noise begins to resonate through the Monkey Puzzle forest. The source of the sound is the Magellanic Woodpecker. They are monogamous, and both male and female share equal roles when breeding. 




By the end of spring, the male Monkey Puzzles’ cones have developed into 15-centimeter brown clusters, and are now ready to release their cargo. The pollen is dispersed by the wind, and pollinates the female Monkey Puzzle’s immature cones. But being fairly heavy, the fertile dust doesn’t travel as far as that of most conifers. Araucaria trees have allies however. At this time of year, Austral Parakeets need extra protein to breed, and the Monkey Puzzles’ pollen is an excellent source of this nutrient. The parakeets flock to the male trees and destructively feed on their ripe cones, bathing themselves in pollen grains. When the birds perch on the female tree’s branches they inadvertently pollenate her cones. Once pollinated, these cones start producing seeds which will take 18 months to mature. 


Rodents also assist the Monkey Puzzle by spreading her seed across the Andes. A Mouse collects the fallen Piñones and caches the seeds by burying them. The Mouse cannot always remember where it hid its prize, thus playing its role as an unwitting gardener by planting tree’s seeds. Some of these seeds will germinate and become the next generation of Monkey Puzzle trees, it’s an age-old partnership that benefits both the tree and the rodents.


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Rooted Media Contribution:

● Producing

● Directing

● Cinematography

● Sound Recording

FrogFoot Films and Graphics Contribution:

● Offline Edit

● Online Edit

● Grade

● Graphics

● Writing

● Final Delivery

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