Between Earth & Sky

Logline: After surviving a life-threatening fall from a tree, renowned rainforest ecologist Nalini Nadkarni must turn her research question of “what grows back” in the canopy onto herself, exploring disturbance and recovery throughout her life.

Synopsis: Nalini Nadkarni is a world-renowned ecologist who climbs trees in the rainforest canopy to study “what grows back” after an ecological disturbance. In 2015, her rope snapped on a research climb, and she fell fifty feet from a tree and nearly died. After making a miraculous recovery, Nalini begins to explore a new research subject – herself. 

Between Earth & Sky follows Nalini as she prepares for another research climb in Monteverde, Costa Rica, before considering retirement from the field. In the process, she unearths the roots of other disturbances she faced throughout her life, as the daughter of mixed Indian-Jewish immigrant parents who prized high achievement and contribution above all else. 


As a child, trees provided a place of solace and safety to Nalini, so much so that she swore an oath to protect them. Now, Nalini is doing the work of untangling the roots of her past and bringing family secrets to light, in order to understand how each impacted her life’s course. In an attempt to heal, she revisits the site of her fall on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, where her past, present, and future converge.

Runtime: 25 Minutes

Starring: Nalini Nadkarni

Director/Producer: Andrew Nadkarni