River of Renewal

The American Indian Film Festival has honored River of Renewal by choosing it for the festival's opening night. The World Premiere will occur Friday, November 7th at 7:00 pm at the Landmark Embarcadero Center Cinema, One Embarcadero Center, San Francisco.

Advance Tickets are available through the American Indian Film Festival (415) 554-0525. The documentary film River of Renewal tells the story of the crisis in the Klamath Basin where competing demands for water, food, and energy have pitted farmers, American Indians, and commercial fishermen against each other. Remarkably, this conflict over resources has led to a consensus for conservation. The outcome may be the largest dam removal project in history and the restoration of a once vital river basin. Will the future witness the extinction of salmon in what was once North America's third greatest salmon-producing river? Or the restoration of the Klamath as a home for life?

River of Renewal shows one of the great rivers of America in crisis while telling the story of a "sidewalk Indian" who discovers his roots among the Klamath River tribes. Jack Kohler comes to the mouth of the Klamath River to make a film about the 1978 Salmon War, the subject of a play in which he had acted as a Yurok gillnetter. Then an event occurs at the headwaters that brings the conflict over salmon into the 21st century. Farmers protest the federal cut-off of irrigation water due to a judge's ruling under the Endangered Species Act to protect three fish species, including coho salmon. In Klamath Falls, Oregon in May, 2001, Kohler observes civil disobedience by farmers in violation of federal law.

Bypassing the ESA, the Bush Administration orders the unlimited release of water to farmers in 2002. Later that year, 80,000 spawning salmon die in the Klamath estuary. That disaster leads to the collapse of the salmon fishery off the California and Oregon coasts several years later. The polarization of Klamath Basin communities gives way to conflict resolution and consensus building in view of the potential decommissioning of Klamath Basin hydroelectric dams that cut salmon off from hundreds of miles of spawning habitat. Recognizing that their livelihoods all depend on the health of the river, stakeholders who had been antagonists agree to share the water and to demand the removal of the dams. Klamath River photo by Clinton Steeds: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cwsteeds/1534860001/


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