The intimate portrait of a self-sufficient family living in nature
In theatres April 8


The Family of the Foresta documentary directed by Laura Rietveld. The film follows a francophone Belgian family that is renowned for the culinary treasures they gather from the forest and for their exceptional lifestyle, near the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. Following its World Premiere on opening night of Festival Vues sur mer on March 31, The Family of the Forest will open on April 8 in Montreal, Quebec City and Sherbrooke.


Gérard Mathar and Catherine Jacob left family, friends and homeland for a life of self-sufficiency in the boreal forest of the Gaspé Peninsula, Quebec. Now as their sons become adults, will the next generation also commit to a life bound to forest, land and sea? What makes the intense demands and sacrifices of this life worth it? What does it mean to truly appreciate and live with nature? And what can we learn from this inspiring family? The Family of the Forest ponders these questions with a poetic sensitivity while joining the Jacob-Mathar family at a pivotal time: as Côme, Ossyane, and Jonas emerge into adulthood and Gérard and Catherine complete an ambitious plan to keep sons close to family and forest.

About the filmmaker Laura Rietveld

Laura Rietveld is an emerging documentary filmmaker and laureate of the Prix du Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec – Work by an Emerging Montreal Artist 2015. Her work is bound by themes of identity, family, and the human-nature connection. Laura’s first documentary, Okpik’s Dream (2015) won Grand Prix Rigoberta Menchú Award, 25th Montreal First Peoples Festival, Honourary Mention for the Grand Prize, Innsbruck International Nature Festival, Austria, and was nominated for Best Documentary Program, Canadian Screen Awards. Her first music video, Broke Down Ski’Tuuq was nominated for Best Music Video, Performance, Native American Music Awards (2018). Laura’s latest feature-length documentary The Family and the Forest (2022) has been almost seven years in the making. 


With the participation of Catherine Jacob, Gérard Mathar, Côme Mathar, Ossyane Mathar & Jonas Mathar

Documentary. Quebec/Canada. 85 minutes. 2022. Original French version with English subtitles.

Direction: Laura Rietveld | Screenplay: Laura Rietveld | Cinematography: Alex Margineanu | Editing: Annie Leclair | Sound Design: Catherine Van Der Donckt | Sound Mix: Bruno Bélanger | Sound Recording: Lynne Trepanier | Music: Ramachandra Borcar | Producer: Katarina Soukup | Production: Catbird Productions | Distribution: Les Films du 3 Mars

Website – Les Films du 3 Mars:


The documentary The Family of the Forest will be broadcast in an abridged version (in French) on Unis TV on May 9 at 9 p.m.