I can’t stop thinking about the Aurora movie theater shootings. Not just the extreme sadness caused by such senseless violence, but by the fact some of the movie goers thought the tear gas and shootings were part of the special effects. Scary stuff when we get so used to violence in movies we don’t know when the real thing is happening. I’m glad for our wonderful audience which has chosen to take a break from all that and allowed themselves The River Why. Our director, Matt Leutwyler, wanted the movie to (grow and) flow like a river. It’s a gift.
For those of you wanting some additional inspiration, check out this clip from my new favorite show, “Newsroom”.
Some of you know, one of the ways we’re raising money to pay for the costs of production is through donations. We’ve currently raised about $700,000 and we want to get that up to at least $1 million. Once the costs of production are recouped, we will be “re-gifting” the amount raised through donations to non-profits that support rivers and fish. If the film does well, that amount will increase. It’s a way to not only pay attention to the issues, but to do something about them. I attribute the inspiration for this to 1% for the Planet….although for “The River Why” this will be closer to 25%….and possibly more.
We would welcome anyone who wants to get involved with this effort. When we reach “re-gift” time, you will have a say in where your portion goes.
The San Francisco Film Society is our fiscal sponsor. To donate, please go to:
Check out this video (featuring Zach Gilford, Kathleen Quinlan, director Matthew Leutwyler,and Screenwriter Tom Cohen) from the Red Carpet Premiere of The River Why at the Dallas International Film Festival.
Note: the cast and crew appear about 5 minutes in.
Great news! Amber Heard, who plays “Eddy” in The River Why, received the Dallas Shining Start Award on April 10, 2010 at the Dallas International Film Festival. According to IMDb:
Heard’s “Shining Star” was created with an eye toward celebrating actors, filmmakers, and film artists who have delivered exceptional performances or works on film in their brief careers as well as exhibiting the potential for greater achievements to come. “We couldn’t have found a better person to receive the inaugural DALLAS Shining Star Award,” said DALLAS IFF Artistic Director James Faust. “Amber has put together an incredible string of films in a few short years and is obviously just getting warmed up. We know that we’ll be able to proudly say we were among the first to officially recognize what was on the horizon for Amber Heard.“
Click here if you’d like to see some raw footage of Ms. Heard accepting her award.
Amber is a rising star who plays the lead role (and title character) in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006. Ms. Heard is the female lead in Pineapple Express (opposite Seth Rogen and James Franco), The Informers (with Billy Bob Thornton and Wynona Ryder) and The River Why (with Zach Gilford). She is currently starring with Johnny Depp in The Rum Diaries and with Nicholas Cage in Angry Driver.
Crowds wrapped around the historic Armory in Ashland, OR for the Ashland Independent Film Festival.
The staff and volunteers made the Ashland Independent Film Festival an incredible experience. They had the biggest attendance ever and handled everything with grace and warmth. Nearly 1,000 people saw “The River Why” between the two preview screenings.
On Saturday, I spoke on the Reel Woman panel with:
Diane Bell (Director, Obselidia – which won Best Feature)
Gloria La Morte (co-director, Entre Nos, which won the Audience Award and Best Acting Ensemble)
Judith Ehrlich (Co-Director, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers – nominated for an Academy Award)
Emiko Omori (Director, Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World)
Anne Lundgren (Producer, Calvin Marshall)
Sandy Cioffi (Director, Sweet Crude)
They were such an inspiring group with amazing experiences and insight. I was honored to sit beside them.
My birthday was Friday and the audience sang “Happy Birthday” to me. Hard to top that! Saturday came close because a number of people from the crew were at that screening and I loved seeing all of them again.
All in all, it was a great way to start our film festival circuit with a special preview as a “Thank you” to Oregon.
-Kristi Denton Cohen
Producer, The River Why
P.S. To see more pictures from the festival, please visit our Facebook Fan Page.
Cast and crew of "The River Why" celebrate the Special Preview at AIFF 2010.
The "Best Cinematography, The Gerald Hirschfeld, ASC Award: Feature" Award
I’m pleased to announce The River Why won the “Best Cinematography, The Gerald Hirschfeld, ASC Award: Feature” Award last night at the Ashland Independent Film Festival! This is a wonderful honor and very meaningful since we filmed The River Why in Oregon, along the Wilson River in Portland, in 2008.
We’ll post more pictures and updates from the festival soon, but we had to share the great news.
To see the full list of Awardees, please visit the Ashland Independent Film Festival‘s web site.
Kathleen Quilan on set with WIlliam Hurt in "The River Why".
Kathleen Quinlan plays Zach Gilford’s mother in The River Why. Ms. Quinlan made her film debut in George Lucas’ 1973 nostalgic look at the early sixties, American Graffiti. She has appeared in over 50 films, but is best known for her roles as Deborah in I Never Promised You a Rose Garden for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress, and for her Golden Globe and Oscar nominated role as Marilyn Lovell in 1995′s Apollo 13.
April 5, 2010–The Easter Bunny delivered some “egg-cellent” news yesterday! Our first write up by the Ashland Mail Tribune.
Journalist Bill Varble wrote:
It’s heartening to see the overall quality of the work being done by independent filmmakers around the world. That quality will be on display in our little corner of the world, as the annual Ashland Independent Film Festival gets under way Thursday.
The big little indie fest this year again boasts some extraordinary films among its 81 entries. And almost everything is at least worth seeing. Contrast this with a typical week’s crop of Hollywood commercial fare, which often leaves you scratching for a movie worth seeing.
Here are some thumbnail reflections…
“The River Why,” feature, 101 minutes
Producer Kristi Denton Cohen waited 20 years to make a beautiful film based on David James Duncan’s iconic coming-of-age fishing novel set in Oregon, and the wait was worth it. Gus Orviston, 20, leaves his fishing, bickering parents’ home to live in a cabin on the river and order his life so that he can fish 141/2 hours a day.
Gotta be bliss, right? Wrong. He’s soon frustrated and lost. But the right guides turn up at just the right moments as Gus moves toward awareness.
This is lovely, understated filmmaking. Director Matthew Leutwyler wisely lets his camera and his actors, including the eye-popping Wilson River near Portland, (this is one of those stories in which the environment is a character) tell the story. When it looks this easy, you know it was hard work indeed.
Although the cinematography is stunning, the producer says it’s still a work in progress, and she allowed it to be shown as a thank-you to Oregon. The final version will reportedly be yet more beautiful.
To read the rest of Varble’s reviews, please click here.
Also appearing at the Ashland Independent Film Festival is “Greenlit”, the behind-the-scenes documentary of The River Why‘s attempt to “green” the film production. The 12:00 noon April 10th showing of “Greenlit” will be followed by a panel discussion including “Greenlit” director Bailey and “River Why” green consultant Lauren Selman. Bill Vabler suggests “The ideal would be to see ‘[The] River Why,’ then see ‘Greenlit,’ then stay for the discussion.” We agree, Bill!
You can catch The River Why at 12:00noon on April 9th and 6:00pm April 10th. Get your tickets here.
The Ashland Independent Film Festival runs Thursday, April 8, through Monday, April 12, at the Varsity Theatre and other Ashland locations with 81 films, plus parties, awards and special events. Most showings are $10. See www.ashlandfilm.org for more information.
UPDATE: While you’re at the AIFF, here are a few other events you may enjoy:
“Reel Women” Panel with Producer Kristi Denton Cohen: 10:30am, April 10, 2010.
“It Ain’t Easy Being Green” Panel, following the screening of “Greenlit“, which documents The River Why’s attempt to “green” its film production: Screening starts at 12:00noon,April 10, 2010