April 23, 2015

‘Reel Paddling Film Festival’ set for May 1

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The World Tour 2015 Reel Paddling Film Festival is coming to Southern Illinois University Carbondale on May 1.  

The event, set for 7-9 p.m. at the Student Center Auditorium, celebrates a decade of highlighting the best paddling films, organizers said. Touch of Nature Environmental Center is presenting the festival, which is free and open to the public. 

The films to be shown, along with a brief description of each, are: 

  • “Caleb,” the story of Caleb Brousseau, who broke his back and lost the use of his legs in a 2007 snowboarding accident. He then became a sit-skier, medaling at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, and in the summers, the British Columbia native takes his adventurous spirit to the river in a kayak.
  • “Delta Dawn,” detailing how an experimental stream of water was released into a forgotten delta in the spring of 2014 joining the Colorado River and the ocean for the first time in about 20 years. The film tells of a team of river runners attempting to be the first, last, and perhaps only group in the modern era to float from the Colorado to the ocean by paddleboard.
  • “Facing Waves: Whitewater Mexico,” focusing on one of the world’s most intensive whitewater races, on the Alsaseca River in Veracruz, Mexico. The film explores the large waterfalls, rain forests and extreme whitewater of the region.
  • “River of Eden,” an exploration of the Fijian Highlands, where local residents refused to profit from resource extraction and instead used tourism funds to create a conservation area to protect their river.
  • “Paddle to DC: A Quest for Clean Water,” chronicling a 2,000-mile trip by Amy and Dave Freeman from Ely, Minn., to Washington, D.C., to try to prevent sulfide ore mining they believed could damage the Boundary Waters.
  • “A Paddler’s Pilgrimage,” a documentary about James Manke and James Roberts as they participated in the Greenland National Kayak Championships in Qaqortaq, Greenland. The film shows the origins of the kayak and the tradition and heritage of the people.
  • “Serene and Surreal: Healing Waters of Congaree Wilderness,” a moving film about the redemptive powers that paddling and nature in the Congaree National Park have on a PTSD therapy group. Eric Guzman, a Marine Corps machine gunner and Army combat engineer, co-narrates the film.
  • “The Grand Canyon of the Stikine,” following some of the world’s best kayakers as they travel down the Stikine River, described as the “Everest of whitewater.”
  • “Top 10 Tips for Canoeing and Kayaking Safely,” an animated educational film to educate and empower people to safely use canoes, kayaks and paddleboards, which account for 20 percent of all watercraft-related fatalities according to 2013 U.S. Coast Guard 2013 recreational boating statistics.
  • “Tumwater Solitude,” following Sam Grafton as he paddles the intensive Wenatchee River’s Tumwater Canyon whitewater.
  • “We Belong to It,” zeroing in on British TV personality Ray Mears as he travels into Wabakimi Provincial Park in northern Ontario, Canada, exploring the beauty of the Boreal forest landscape.

For additional information about the films, visit www.reelpaddlingfilmfestival.com