Friday, July 22, 2005

Wolf book and movie celebrated

Express Staff Writer

Jamie Dutcher and Wahots, one of the wolves the Dutchers lived with in Idaho. Photo by Jim Dutcher

Wood River Valley residents Jim and Jamie Dutcher have built a reputation for their work with wolves in Idaho.

Their latest documentary on the six years they lived amongst the oft-misunderstood animals, "Living with Wolves," has recently been nominated for best cinematography for a Primetime Emmy.

Dutcher also won a Primetime Emmy for Cinematography for an earlier film on wolves, "Wolves at Our Door," and another for his first wolf film,"Wolf: Return of a Legend," for Outstanding Non-Fiction Documentary, that was awarded for both news and documentary. Jamie Dutcher won an Emmy for her Sound Mixing on "Wolves at Our Door."

A release party for their DVD and new coffee table book, also called "Living with Wolves," is being held tonight, 7 p.m. Friday, July 22, at Iconoclast Books in Ketchum. It contains personal stories of their lives with the pack and of the danger that now faces wild wolves in America..

"It's a companion to the film. It talks a lot about wolf behavior and the need for wild space," Jamie Dutcher said. "You can't preserve an animal without preserving its natural habitat."

The book was published by The Mountaineers Books of Seattle, and includes a CD of the sounds of the Sawtooth Pack that won the Emmy for Sound Editing, a poem by William Merwin, and a foreword by Bill Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society. "These wolves gave us personally more than we could ever have imagined," Jamie Dutcher said. "They are ambassadors for their kind. It's really opened doors for people to a better understanding. Yes, wolves are predators, but they are an important for the ecosystem.

"We've been getting letters from people who we never thought we would hear from. One was from a hunter in Wisconsin who was terrified of wolves when he went hunting. He wrote that when he saw the film he cried. He said it changed his own attitude, just accepting these animals, and that they belong in our world too."

Robert Redford wrote: "In many ways, the Dutchers have become the voice of these marvelous creatures that struggle mightily to exist in pure form. Their extraordinary photographs of the Sawtooth Pack illustrate a haunting story that could only have resulted from years of personal dedication and professional skill."

The film will be shown at the Magic Lantern Theater in Ketchum starting today through Thursday at 2 and 4:30 p.m. as a benefit for The Wilderness Society.

"We're working with The Wilderness Society because they have a long, solid history of saving the wild land that wild wolves need if they're going to survive," Jim Dutcher said. "Key wild land for wolves, critical habitat, is located in Idaho, and needs protection if these animals are going to survive."

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