The Living River Film Festival

Thank You for Joining Us!

October 12-14, 2012

In October, the McKenzie River Trust invited you to enjoy a weekend of films and events that celebrated our Oregon landscapes through film.

Through historic local footage, family-friendly films, cutting-edge digital time-lapse, documentaries, and Hollywood features the Living River Film Festival cast a whole new light on the rivers in our own backyards, exploring and celebrating our relationship to the lands and rivers that surround us. To enhance the screenings, most films were paired with dynamic speakers. Throughout the weekend, attendees heard from passionate filmmakers, local historians, and land conservationists in our region, all working to bring you the stories of our region’s land and waters.

Opening Night- Meet the Filmmakers: Friday, October 12 at 6:00 PM

Wildish Community Theater in downtown Springfield

Hundreds of supporters and new friends joined us for an intimate evening with some of the Living River Film Festival filmmakers, a sneak peek at the new documentary film Willamette Futures (currently in production), and a catered reception by Heidi Tunnell Catering Co. with Sweet Life desserts at the newly remodeled Wildish Theater in downtown Springfield. A no-host cash bar featured local Oakshire beers and regional wines by Oakdale Cellars and Domaine Meriwether. Willamette Futures is a profound portrait of the river in our own backyard and the passionate people working to protect it. The film is produced by Freshwaters Illustrated.

Living River Festival Filmmakers who spoke at Opening Night:
(Pictured at right)

Thank you to Organically Grown Company for generously donating all produce for the catered reception.

Opening Night Tickets: $45/person

Documentary: Willamette Futures by Freshwaters Illustrated

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Festival Screenings: Saturday, October 13

Bijou Art Cinemas in Eugene

Tickets: $10/film

Hundreds joined us for a full day of films – from across the state and beyond – celebrating the lands and rivers that surround us. From powerful documentaries, to rare historic footage of the McKenzie Watershed, to Hollywood and independent features, all with a connection to Oregon. The festival celebrated and encouraged thoughtful conversation by offering post-screening discussions with filmmakers and special guests following many of the films. We also welcomed you at The Confluence Festival Hub outside the theater for local Oakshire brews, wine, more conversation, and a chance to get to know your local land conservation group, the McKenzie River Trust.

Saturday Film Festival Screenings:

1:30 PM: Sometimes a Great Notion (Paul Newman, Director, 113 minutes)
Oregon Location: Filmed throughout Lincoln County, Oregon, in Kernville, Newport, and along the Yaquina and Siletz Rivers.
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion brought Hollywood to the wilds of Oregon in a tale of one family’s struggle with the land, the politics of that land, and the river that holds the answer to their success or failure. The logging industry serves as the vehicle that explores the complex dynamics of families and communities, and the film was shot on location on the Oregon Coast. This film also marks Paul Newman’s directorial debut.

2:00 PM: McKenzie Memories – Historical footage of the McKenzie River from the early 1900s
Speakers: Roy Pruitt, Dave Helfrich, Dr. Alan Dickman, and Ken Engelman

What was it like to live along the McKenzie River in the early 1900s? What did famous structures such as Goodpasture Bridge and Leaburg Dam look like 60-70 years ago? What do you remember?  Ride the currents of time in this special viewing of rare images of early settlers, river log drives, the McKenzie White Water Parade, and other iconic memories. We will show 4 short films, with expert commentary during or after each film: “A Picture History of the Early Logging of the McKenzie, Willamette and Fall Creeks,” “Shooting the Deschutes,” White Water Parade film footage, and “McKenzie River Holiday.” Afterwards, the UO Environmental Leadership Program will present stunning modern images of this magical river. We will then provide an opportunity for the guest speakers and audience to share personal reflections on the history of the McKenzie. Come share your memories too!

4:00 PM: Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time (Steven Dunksy, Director, 80 minutes)
Speaker: Meet the staff of your local land conservation group, the McKenzie River Trust
The first full-length documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, Green Fire highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. Leopold remains relevant today, inspiring projects all over the country that connect people and land. (Green Fire does not have a direct connection to our Oregon landscapes, but considering the inspiring subject matter, we just had to include it in our film festival. Don’t miss it!)

5:00 PM: Letters from the Big Man (Christopher Munch, Director, 115 minutes)
Speaker: Christopher Munch
Oregon Location: Set and filmed in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in the Rogue River-Siskiyou national forest.
Like no Bigfoot film you’ll ever see, this independent feature explores the unlikely friendship of an environmental scientist and a Sasquatch in Southern Oregon. At once a study of a neo-frontierswoman and a meditation on our place in nature as humans, Letters from the Big Man brings the Oregon landscape into sharp relief in a role so significant it might be considered a character.

6:00 PM: A River Runs Through It (Robert Redford, Director, 123 minutes)
Join us as we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this new classic!
This classic film, based on a true story, shows how a river can connect the disparate lives and paths of two brothers. Set in Montana in the 1920s, the film stars Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer as sons of a Presbyterian minister united throughout their divergent lives’ paths by their shared love of fly-fishing in the rivers of their home.

8:00 PM: Source to Sea: The Columbia River Swim (Andy Norris, Director and Producer, 90 minutes)
Speaker: Robin Cody, author and interviewee
Oregon Location: Filmed across the entirety of the Columbia River, including Celilo Falls, the Dalles, and Astoria. 

Christopher Swain swam the entirety of the Columbia River in 2003, a feat no other person has ever completed. Thirty-three filmmakers documented this stunning journey, which Swain initiated in order to bring his educational message of preservation to a wide audience. Their collaboration resulted in this film. Footage of the 1,243-mile swim was combined with emotional and profound interviews by those affected most by the challenges facing the Columbia, the Great River of the West.

8:30 PM: Selections from Uncage the Soul Video Productions (John Waller, Director, 45 minutes)
Speaker: John Waller, filmmaker
Oregon Location: 
Ascending the Giants was filmed along the Oregon Coast, Treeverse in an old growth Oregon White Oak forest near Canby, and Finding Oregon explores the entirety of the state.
Stunning footage meets sublime power and beauty in three short films from the Uncage the Soul production team. This collection showcases the profound power of the Oregon landscape, seen through the eyes of artists and environmentalists:

Treeverse follows two climbers’ unparalleled adventure as they attempt to navigate a 1 km transect through an old growth Oregon White Oak forest canopy over a 5 day period – never touching the ground. (28 min)
Finding Oregon is a compilation of six months of time-lapse photography, punctuated by a 1600-mile road trip, filmed in the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, the Southwestern Coast, the Alvord Desert, Leslie Gulch, Blue Mountains, Crater Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Deschutes River, and more, touching all four corners of the state.  (4 min)
Ascending the Giants follows two Portland arborists as they set forth on a journey to locate a new Oregon State Sitka Spruce Champion after the demise of the Klootchy Creek Spruce, an Oregon landmark.  As they visit several giant contenders we discover the breathtaking beauty of these beautiful giants along the windswept Oregon coast from both the ground and in the canopy. (12 min)

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Family Film & Activity Day: Sunday, October 14, 2:00 – 5:00pm

Free event – Donations welcome

EWEB’s River Edge Plaza and Community Room

Kids and families enjoyed an afternoon of family-oriented films and activities – and free popcorn – along the Willamette River at EWEB. Through film, we traveled underwater with a family of beavers (local naturalist and beaver expert Dave Walp was on-hand to answer all your beaver-related questions, too) and climbed with local school children to the tops of ancient trees at HJ Andrews Experimental Forest located in the McKenzie Watershed in Canopy Connections. Kids also had their own tree climbing excursion up an old-growth Doug Fir guided by the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute! Attendees brought the forest home with them when they made slug crafts with Sadie Slimey Stitches, Eugene’s very own Slug Queen, while the fun film Mossgrove enchanted and fascinated.

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A Huge Thank You To Our Living River Sponsors

Lead Sponsor

Supporting Sponsors


Friend of the Trust


Special Thanks

The Living River Committee: Holly McRae, Megan Smith, & Abe Sorom, Peg Boulay & Katie Lynch with The University of Oregon Environmental Leadership Program, Shawn Donnille and Julie Bailey with Mountain Rose Herbs, Organically Grown Company, Bryan Taylor with Treemen Design, Joe Harwood with Eugene Water and Electric Board, Bob Frankel with Green Solutions Printing, Randy Dersham with the McKenzie River Driftboat Museum, Jeff Althouse with Oakshire Brewing Company, Catherine Reinhart with Sweet Life Patisserie, Tim Giraudier with Headwaters Photographic, Kirk Boyd & Skip Hubbard with the Wildish Community Theater, Edward Schiessl with the Bijou Art Cinemas, Ken Engelman with McKenzie River Reflections, Roy Pruitt, Dave Helfrich, & Dr. Alan Dickman, Rob Miron with the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute, Maiya Becker: 2012 Eugene Slug Queen, Kurtis Hough, Dave Walp, Raptorviews by Philip Bayles, Passionflower Design, Full City Coffee, Hilton Hotel Eugene, Eagle Rock Lodge, Out on a Limb Gallery, La Perla, Oregon Paddle Sports, The McKenzie Watershed Council, The University of Oregon Outdoor Program, Anne Richardson with Oregon Movies A to Z, Tony Traschel with Proludio, Stafford Video, Buzz with Domaine Meriwether, Arica and Dave Duhrkoop-Galas with Oakdale Cellars, Dennis Nyback, Robin Cody, Jeremy Monroe, Christopher Munch, Sreang “C” Hok with the University of Oregon, Hannah Piper Burns

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The McKenzie River Trust’s fourth annual Living River event connected audiences to the unique landscapes that surround us in Oregon – where we all live, work, and play.  Proceeds from The Living River events benefit our mission to protect and care for special lands and the rivers that flow through them in western Oregon. Learn about past Living River events.

Opening Night venue: Wildish Theater
Still from Willamette Futures
Still from Willamette Futures
Saturday Screenings: Bijou Art Cinemas

Still from McKenzie Memories historical footage

Still from Uncage the Soul's Ascending the Giants
Still from Uncage the Soul's Finding Oregon
Still from Beavers
Still from Canopy Connections
Still from Mossgrove