From "The Trees Remember;" photo courtesy: REI Co-op Studios

Co-op Studios: REI Takes Center Stage With New Production Company for Movies, Podcasts

The new entertainment arm of REI will prioritize content and media from ‘historically underrepresented groups.’

REI Co-op today announced it will launch an in-house content arm to produce films, podcasts, and editorial programs. The co-op already produces a quarterly magazine, storytelling podcast, and myriad how-to videos.

But with the debut of Co-op Studios, the outdoor retail giant officially stakes its business interests in the world of multimedia entertainment.

“The outdoors is for everyone, and content is a powerful and relevant way to bring that belief to our members and new audiences,” said Paolo Mottola, REI director of content and media.

“We are supporting projects that explore this idea from a variety of perspectives, formats, and, most importantly, from a variety of voices. Our plan is to share and promote stories that encourage awareness, inspiration and celebrate the different ways communities spend time outside.”

To kick off Co-op Studios, REI announced the upcoming short film series, “The Trees Remember,” a fiction trilogy by filmmaker Angela Tucker that highlights Black women “growing and thriving in the outdoors.”

From “The Trees Remember;” photo courtesy: REI Co-op Studios

Co-op Studios: New Faces, Voices for the Outdoors

According to REI, Co-op Studios’ mission is more than just producing new content. It aims to amplify stories by and about groups that have historically been overlooked.

“The studio will prioritize storytelling from people and communities that are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ, women, and any other historically underrepresented groups,” the co-op said in a press release.

REI also noted that it will use media to highlight environmental issues like climate change and human impact. Beyond “The Trees Remember,” Co-op Studios noted a few other upcoming projects to help launch the brand.

  • A digital show for foodies, hosted by James Beard award-winning chef Maria Hines. In it, she explores the intersection of nutritious food, outdoor sports, and the environment.
  • New episodes of the YouTube series “Miranda In the Wild,” in which co-op employee and backpacker Miranda Webster shares humorous outdoor knowledge.
  • A new podcast called “Hello, Nature,” in which Misha Euceph explores the experience of national parks through the eyes of a Pakistani American.

Co-op Studios soft debuted last year when it co-produced “The Dark Divide,” a feature-length film based on the Robert Pyle novel “Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide.”

In 2019, the co-op relaunched its in-house journal as a quarterly editorial print magazine, focused on advocacy, storytelling, and outdoor products. With its 20-million-strong member-subscriber base, it instantly became among the largest outdoor media publishers in the U.S.

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Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.