Riverside Film Review #1

We hope to get a film review in The New York Times, of course, but I’m just as proud to hear the thoughts of riverside resident, Paul Holden. Paul is the man who found the Morpheus plaque while fishing below the Buford Dam.

David, so I finally got to sit down with a glass of bourbon and process the days events, and continue to plan our trip. I keep going back to your film in part because it spotlights my back yard and because I think you touched on something that has been sorely overlooked in recent years. I have been aware of the “water wars” for years and I cant remember anyone bringing to light the perspective of the people like us who interact with the river on a daily basis and who in my opinion have their collective fingers on the pulse of this river. Most of what people know or hear about our river is what is in the media and what the person with the biggest budget wants them to hear. I don’t know exactly where I stand on this issue and I live about a mile away from this river I don’t see how politicians and lobbyist who have probably never experienced and I mean really experienced it are able to keep the rivers best interest at heart.

Thanks again, Paul.

Morpheus Returns!

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Dateline: Seattle, WA
7:28am

phone rings
(South Carolina number)

Me: This is David.

Paul: Is this David Hanson of Who Owns Water?

Me: Yes

Paul: You don’t know me but last year I found something that I think you’re going to want.

Me: Ok…?

Paul lives near Lake Lanier. He was fishing one day below the Buford Dam and noticed a wood board with “Morpheus” written on it and yellow p-cord dragging behind. He picked it up and held onto it.

Fast forward to this morning. He and his son were scouting online for info about canoeing down the upper Hooch from Helen to Lake Lanier. They came across this photo and post from my first trip down the Hooch in 2009. Through the miracle of modern Internetting, they traced that post to the Who Owns Water film and to my phone number.

I asked Paul why he didn’t just throw it away, either at first or after all this time. Here’s what he wrote me ::

Cant really say, when I first pulled it out of the water and saw Morpheus on it I thought it was unusual and I like stuff like that. It has started many conversations for me and my two sons regarding where it came from who lost it and of course what it meant. A few months ago we were cleaning out our garage and my wife put it in the throw away pile and as I took it out I joked that she would anger the river gods if she threw it away. So circling back to your question, something just told me to hold onto it. This morning when I saw the picture and read the story I knew I had kept it for a good reason!

11:17am
Paul has now downloaded and seen Who Owns Water. His email said he liked it:

Just finished the film! I thought it was awesome! I also feel very connected to rivers there is just something about them that I cant put my finger on or explain you just gotta get in the water!

Download for yourself. It’s now fully available online :: Find it here…

Film Up!

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The complete Who Owns Water is locked and loaded. Contact us for details on screenings.

dhanson11@gmail.com
205-936-7234

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Screenings here ‘n there

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Get ready to sit back and relax. We’ll have a complete version within a couple weeks. Then it will be available for download online. We’ll keep moving it through the film festival circuit and sharing screenings through our partners in the watershed and around the country. Partners like Patagonia, Riverkeeper organizations, MountainFilm, Georgia River Network, and others.

For now, here’s a short list of upcoming screenings:

April 5, 1pm : Georgia River Network “Weekend for Rivers” , Atlanta, GA

April 9, 5:30pm : Pace Academy, Atlanta, GA

May 2 : LaGrange, GA Chattahoochee Riverkeeper outdoor film event

First Time’s a Charm

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WINNER, BEST DOCUMENTARY

We showed an “early release” of the film to the 350+ good folks at the Lookout Wild Film Festival in Chattanooga, TN last weekend. The film is 98% complete so we’re extremely proud to earn recognition in our first festival submission.

Thanks to all the people who joined the festival and to Andy Johns, festival director, who was able to download our most recent film version a few hours before screening time!

Will Ferrell, American Hero

A year ago right now we were floating down the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers, somewhere in the middle of Georgia. Traveling solo for two weeks, we naturally created imaginary friends. By the time Michael and I rejoined forces at the Apalachicola River, we knew the best travel companion for the lower Hooch, Flint, and Apalachicola Rivers would be Will Ferrell. Just plop him in the bow of the canoe and steer him toward the people we met along the banks. He’d be relatively anonymous down there so his genius absurdity could be free to roam.

Ferrell and Robert Redford (and Kelly Slater) have teamed up to promote a project on the Colorado River that will raise the river level and return water to the river’s delta in Mexico.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oySDfoHuIP4

Will, you are always invited for a canoe float down the Hooch.

Quapaw Means Downstream People

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Petition to MS legislators in support of the bill

Fund-raising site for Quapaw legal defense fund

Our close friend and America’s pre-eminent historian, guide, steward, and painter of the Lower Mississippi River is beached on the proverbial sandbar.

This is perhaps the most bi-partisan cause in the history of the US of A ::

For the anti-government, no-tax crowd : A small business employing local people is facing an unjust tax to the tune of $41,000. The unexpected levy would force the business to close its doors. It’s a tax that, according to precedents set in other states, should not be applicable for this small business.

For the environmental, socially-progressive crowd : A small business that operates an educational and guiding program with a strict mission of connecting people to the Lower Mississippi River. They do this by bringing people to the Mississippi River in safe, hand-built canoes crafted by the business owner and local students and apprentices employed by the business. The business educates the general public through old-school, “voyageur-style” day and overnight river trips. They also train underserved Mississippi Delta youth in river guiding and life skills while paying them a fair wage.

The small business is Quapaw Canoe Company, located in Clarksdale, MS and West Helena, AR. John Ruskey is the founder and owner. He will one day go down as the John Muir of the Lower Mississippi River when, in 50 years, we look back at how he single-handedly documented, painted, mapped, and instilled an appreciation for the Mighty Mississippi in thousands of Americans.

The state of Mississippi has suddenly hit Quapaw with a tax for its last four years of operations. Ruskey had not been charging sales tax on his river trips, working under the assumption that there was no sales tax on river business, as there is not in states like Tennessee and Utah where river operators are more common. If this tax is levied on Quapaw, it will not only shut the business down, it will essentially condemn any future nature tourism businesses from operating on the river out of Mississippi. Ruskey and team, in true get-it-done fashion, have managed to put a bill before the Mississippi legislature (SB 2972 HB 1604) that would exempt nature tourism operators from river taxes.

Hopefully this will just be another chapter of the ever-evolving, inspiring legacy that is John Ruskey…

Josh Neumann, Cello Man

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It’s all about who you know. This time last year, we hired Josh Neumann off a Craigslist post. My buddy Sam Thompson and I had started a food truck selling handmade biscuit sandwiches, and we needed some kitchen help. Josh, during our fifteen-minute coffee-shop interview, admitted to having very little kitchen experience. He was a classically-trained cellist with some free time between national tours with singer-songwriter, Brandi Carlile.

We hired Josh because he was nice and honest and smart. He could learn to make biscuits.

Josh has been touring and recording with Brandi Carlile for over eight years. They started touring in a van owned by Tim and Phil Hanseroth, twins who write songs, sing, and play guitar and bass. Now the band travels in full motor coach, occasionally playing alongside Dave Matthews and Lyle Lovett and Kris Kristofferson. A few months ago, Josh recorded in studio for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. He recently played on stage with Mary Lambert (of Macklemore’s “Same Love”).

Josh and I’ve spent hours together, standing across a metal pastry table rolling out biscuits. He started working the biscuit truck a month before Michael and I left to spend a month on the Chattahoochee-Flint-Apalachicola Rivers for this film. We talked about the film over biscuit dough at 7am on Sunday mornings. He was always open to sharing his cello with the film.

Last night, Josh and Tim met us at Brandi’s home studio to record cello for “Who Owns Water.” For a little over an hour, Josh worked his magic over the strings while Tim recorded, laying down original tracks for us to use. We’re lucky to know Josh Neumann.

Goooooooaaal!

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Hip Hip Hooray!
We reached our Kickstarter goal today and we want to thank everyone involved for your pledge of support and for spreading the word about “Who Owns Water.” We are now on pace to complete the film later this spring and begin sharing its message around rivers, water scarcity, and finding a collaborative solution to conserve our most precious resource.

Stay tuned… more info coming as we continue to make progress.

For now… Cheers!

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Riverside Lesson #2: Unidentified Spots

We like this man a lot. He’s paddled the entire Chattahoochee in a kayak. He now manages a campground at the upper end of West Point Lake. He’s fought and won anti-pollution battles for the ‘Hooch throughout the years. But he’s also got some interesting ideas on extraterrestrial activity around his campground, and we were glad he shared what he could with us…

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