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Sentinels of the Boreal

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Sentinels of the Boreal
Directed byTomas Koeck
Produced byJames Castonguay, Rick Falco, Tomas Koeck
Written byTomas Koeck
Narrated byGregory Golda
Music byEpidemic Sound
CinematographyTomas Koeck
Edited byTomas Koeck
Distributed bySacred Heart University, National Audubon Society, Vision Project
Release date
April 22, 2021
Running time
CountryUnited States
Box officeNon-Profit

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Sentinels of the Boreal is a nature documentary short directed and written by Tomas Koeck through Sacred Heart University's School of Communication, Media & the Arts[1]. It premiered on 22 April 2021 via YouTube and will go through a state-local theatrical release in October 2021. It is narrated by Gregory Golda.

The film is centered around the boreal forest environment, a region stretching from the United States' state of Maine all the way through Canada and into Alaska[2]. It focuses on the elusive great gray owl (Strix nebulosa) which was showcased in the film as a symbol of the environment. It was produced in collaboration with several national and international environmental brands such as the National Audubon Society[3] and Boreal Conversation. The film was also supported by Canon USA and partly funded by Sacred Heart University and Tamron USA.

The film won a number of awards within the Undergraduate Research Institute for its visuals and cinematography[1]. Its executive producer is James Castonguay and the music is sourced from Epidemic Sound. The film also involved many notable scientists such as Jeff Wells, vice president for boreal conservation within the National Audubon Society[4].


The film took about one year to make and was filmed at nearly 20 different locations. Some of the locations of note included Superior National Forest, Sax-Zim Bog, Lake Winnipesaukee, and Portland. The film was also produced with the collaboration of seven different scientists and biologists such as Jeff Wells of Audubon, Sparky Stensaas of FOSZB, Caroline Hughes of LPC, Harry Vogel of LPC and others. The film had to overcome challenges as production was hindered by the COVID-19 Pandemic which would not allow the team to film in Canada but the production persevered.

The great gray owl acted as the "ambassador" for the boreal forest and was the central focus of the film. Since field production occurred in winter, the team had to overcome blizzards and sub-zero temperatures while filming the owls on the Canadian/Minnesotan border. The owls were filmed during their irruption period when the birds were pulled south due to food demands. Also featured in the film were moose, gray wolf, common loon, and a large variety of songbirds, all of which are denizens of the boreal forest. The project was done without the use of baiting or unethical photography practices.

The film was released online through YouTube and was also published by Vision Project[5], Friends of Sax-Zim Bog[6], Saint Paul Audubon Society[7], the Easton Courier[8], the National Audubon Society and others.


Over its release, Sentinels of the Boreal received several different awards through the Undergraduate Research Institute[1] and was showcased by scientific newsletters and brands. The film was featured by the National Audubon Society[3], Tamron USA[9], Sacred Heart University, the CT Post[10], Hearst Media, the CT Insider[11], the Easton Courier, Saint Paul Audubon[12], and others.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Heart, Sacred. "Online Academic Festival Showcases Students' Achievements". Sacred Heart University. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  2. "Boreal Conservation". Boreal Conservation. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Sentinels of the Boreal". Audubon. 2021-07-14. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  4. "Jeff Wells". Audubon. 2019-08-22. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  5. "Sentinels of the Boreal". www.visionproject.org. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  6. "Friends of Sax-Zim Bog". saxzim.org. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  7. "SENTINELS OF THE BOREAL – A Short Film by Tomas Koeck". Saint Paul Audubon Society. 2021-04-26. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  8. "'Sentinels of the Boreal' Released Today to Celebrate Earth Day". Easton Courier. 2021-04-22. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  9. "Login • Instagram". www.instagram.com. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
  10. Durrell, Brad (2021-04-18). "Fairfield filmmaker releases new documentary, 'Sentinels of the Boreal,' on Earth Day". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  11. Durrell, Brad (2021-04-18). "Fairfield filmmaker releases new documentary, 'Sentinels of the Boreal,' on Earth Day". CT Insider. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  12. "SENTINELS OF THE BOREAL – A Short Film by Tomas Koeck". Saint Paul Audubon Society. 2021-04-26. Retrieved 2021-08-17.

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