Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Waterís right of way

Documentary film "River Ways" to screen in Ketchum


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

In this photo by Colin Styker, Frank Stutterlict is a Yakima tribal fisherman in Stykerís documentary film "River Ways."

Providing more insight and understanding for Idaho's wild salmon and steelhead, the Marley in the Mountains event will present a free screening of the award-winning documentary film "River Ways" by Colin Stryker.

Stryker's film explores the lives of regular working people affected by the issue of whether to remove four dams on the Snake River in eastern Washington to restore endangered salmon runs, which end and begin in Idaho's Salmon River drainage. "River Ways" combines interviews and everyday observations with wheat farmers, fisherman, salmon advocates and more.

"It is an issue a lot of people pay attention to in the Northwest and respond to emotionally," Stryker said. "I tried to represent all sides as best as I could. Most important, I allowed for various sides to express themselves."

Stryker said the film raises awareness about the situation of the salmon, the dams and the people whose livelihoods are connected to the water, fish and beyond. "River Ways" has a universal appeal because it puts a human face on the issue of dam removal and fish survival.

"The film gets into the emotional perspective," Stryker said. "I think that some films don't take that approach."

Subjects include environmental activists, irrigators, sport fishermen and salmon biologists, as well as people such as Frank Sutterlict, a Native American fisherman living in an encampment on the Columbia River who struggles to make ends meet in the face of dwindling salmon numbers. The film also includes Ben Barstow, a family farmer in Washington, who fears the effect of dam removal on his already marginal business, and Mark Ihander, a commercial fisherman who hangs on to an industry in economic decline.

"It is the responsibility of everyone to take the film with a grain of salt and use it as springboard to question what they know and do not know about the issue," Stryker said.

"River Ways" will screen at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27.

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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