Wild and Scenic Film Fest, Here We Come!

Lori Pottinger
Carla filming in Temaca
Carla filming in Temaca

About a year ago, filmmaker Carla Pataky and I were lugging her heavy camera gear around the rough cobbled streets of Temaca, Mexico, trying to convince busy activists to talk to us for a few minutes as they rushed between sessions at the Rivers for Life 3 meeting. The town was full of beautiful backdrops for the interviews, and dozens of  activists hailing from 54 countries spoke to us about the work they do, the dams they are fighting, and the visions they had for their rivers and communities. From day one, we could tell we were going to have a very hard time making a short film, given the remarkable people and the richness of the stories Carla was capturing on film.

After days of filming and months of editing, we managed to tell the complex story of the movement to protect rivers and rights in about 22 minutes. A River Runs Through Us tells the story of people who have put their lives on the line to save rivers, and their deep connection to land and water – and to something much bigger than themselves. As longtime Indian river activist Shripad Dharmidikary says, “The global struggle against dams isn’t about just saving one’s own land or one’s own life. It’s really about saving the planet, because it’s about saving rivers, and rivers are the planet’s lifelines.”

The film has already been shown in four film festivals (three in the US and one in the Philippines). This week we found out it’s been accepted to the prestigious Wild and Scenic Film Festival – an exciting 3-day event in Nevada City, California that also benefits a sister river-protection organization, SYRCL. We’re thrilled to be part of the main event as well as the traveling show (check here to find out if it’s coming to your town). We hope to see some of you there in January.

I’ve been doing this work for 17 years, and for 17 years I have been constantly inspired by the people in this movement. It's a part of me now, like being part of a family. It's a family that's so scattered geographically that we can only all get together every five or so years. And even though there must have been 20 languages spoken at Rivers for Life (and I only speak one), it seemed we all spoke the same language when it came to rivers. I hope this film will help you understand why.

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