Inspiration for COTR Documentary

From a recent interview with PaddlingLife.net adventure web site.

PL: What inspired you to make The Call of the River?

Kent: Most other outdoor sports have historical documentary projects that inspire and provide perspective on those sports. I never appreciated Skateboarding until seeing "Dogtown and Z Boys". The history of the Tenth Mountain Division skiers captured in "Fire on the Mountain"showed how WWII combat veterans applied their hard-learned wisdom to starting companies (Nike), creating ski areas (Vail and Aspen), and helping non-profit organizations (the Sierra Club and Outward Bound).More recently "Klunkers" tracks early mountain biking, and Riding Giants tracked early surfing. And I knew the stories that whitewater boating had to tell would be similarly inspiring.


PL: How difficult was it to make?
 

Kent: This was a tough project three years in the making. Actually the first interviews were ten years ago, but the project was too ill-defined at that point to get any traction. So it took me seven years to re-start the production with a clearer vision. I knew of about fifteen pre-1980 film productions, so they provide the backbone of the footage in the project. Tracking footage and permissions from a hundred different sources was a nightmare.



PL: What was the best thing about making it?

 

Kent: Gathering this collection of footage was an amazing honor. People entrusted me with family archives, personal films, and rights for their old productions, all in the spirit of capturing whitewater history. In 90 minutes the viewer is treated to a pretty amazing overview of how whitewater boating has unfolded in the US. It really is an amazing history, mixing the exploits of Walt Blackadar with to the movie Deliverance. Wartime had its impact too, prompting the development of Grumman Canoes, leading to the defection story of Milo Duffek, or Roger Paris reminiscing about the bridge in his town getting bombed in World War II- "But it created beautiful rapids" For me it was a great puzzle to fit it all together, and a pleasure to see complete.