Edit Standing Rock-Klamath Film
"Two Rivers" is the new feature film about the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota, and on the Klamath River in California. These two indigenous led environmental actions, 1500 miles apart, both fought to protect the water in their rivers. Their stories expose both a fundamental dilemma, as well as a potential path forward. These stories need to be seen.
We're now in the edit room, but we need additional staff, and we need to sustain the work over the next few months. You can help us get this story out. Here is the sample reel from the new film, now in post-production: https://youtu.be/WeZ5RaeF0sk
How we protect our water has become a question of immense urgency. Already, in the first 100 days of the new Administration, science and the environment have become the number one targets of cuts, de-regulation and outright attacks. If we are not able to protect our water, the most basic resource needed to sustain life, then what does this say?
The ticking clock of climate change, the political instability in Washington DC, and the profound impact of corporate money on how we make decisions has driven our society into a corner. The battle to protect or profit from our remaining natural resources has us flirting with extinction. But, while the dominant society seems either oblivious or paralyzed with confusion, one group of people appears pivotal: Native Americans – they make up only 2% of the population but sit on top of 60% of the remaining resources. The stories of Standing Rock and the Klamath reveal what resistance strategies work, what fell short, and what challenges that white participants should understand in order to confront the depth of the problems we all face.
The story of this film starts on the Klamath River in 2015, amid California's fifth year of drought. The tribes who live on that river are in a tough fight against agribusiness in the San Joaquin Valley over the water behind the Trinity Dam. As drought combines with climate change to ravage the rich environment of California, would this water flow down the Klamath River for the benefit of salmon, the health of the river, and the survival of the tribes and their neighbors? Or would it go to parched regions of the San Joaquin Valley to grow crops often destined mainly for export? Our cameras rode boats up and down the Klamath with Yurok fishermen and biologists, and we drove out across dusty fields with successful Fresno County farmers 500 miles south.
By the end of 2015, it was clear that despite tireless scientific monitoring of the river, deals being made in Washington DC threatened California's ability to sustainably manage its own water supply. By early Spring of 2016 over 90% of the juvenille salmon in California's biggest rivers were dying from disease caused by low, warm water. Then Donald Trump arrived telling California farmers that there was "no drought."
Later that summer came news of the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. I happened to be reading Cadillac Desert, the classic book on the US government's century long campaign to build dams all across the West. The book's chapter on the Missouri River - where the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline would cross the water supply for 18,000,000 people - convinced me that Standing Rock and the Klamath are two parts of the same story. I packed my camping gear and took off.
Between September and the end of February 2017 I spent 10 weeks at Standing Rock most of it in the Oceti Sakowin and Vortex/Rosebud camps working to document the direct action campaign to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Many thanks to Ryan Anderson, April Goltz, Josie Thundershield, Riley Red Horse, Sherman, Robby Romero, Leatha Liberty, Scott Wilson, Todd Muchow, & Caitlin Kleibor)
The resistance camps at Standing Rock were unprecedented, and produced the largest gathering of tribes in US history. It was the first time in more than 140 years that all seven bands of the Lakota were in the same place at the same time.
While the tenacity and prayerful resistance of Oceti Sakowin was powerful to witness, so was the militarized response to each succeeding action. By December the arrival of thousands of veterans forced the Obama Administration to deny the pipeline permits to cross the Missouri River. But, those acts proved too late and too little. Within his first week in office, Trump reversed the denial and resurrected both the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline.
The two stories of Water Protectors 1500 miles apart remained in synch. On February 23, 2017 the camps at Standing Rock were forcibly evicted, while just two days before, on Feb 21, 2017 a Federal court in California issued an important decision about the Klamath and the Trinity Rivers.
Events at both places shine a light on an emerging indigenous leadership and they pose tough questions: How will we survive on this planet? Who has a viable vision? Who can provide leadership at this moment in our history?
During the last days of the Oceti Sakowin Camp we experienced the emotions of reuniting with people we had grown close to, the arrival of hundreds of heavily armed troops, and the destruction of the camps.
But, the end of the camps will not mean the end of the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline. And, in California, even with huge rain storms, and positive judicial rulings, the salmon are still on the brink of extinction with only1% of the historic run returning this year to the Klamath River.
So, we need your assistance to complete this film quickly and spread these stories.
Thanks to your help, we've already produced twenty video and written reports for Media Bridge Dispatch.com. Tens of thousands of people have watched these reports.
Take a look at our reel for the documentary about Water Protectors at Standing Rock, and in California along the Klamath River:
Please help support the GoFundMe campaign. And please contact us with any comments or ideas. Thanks for helping!
A surprise $500 donation just yesterday for the "Two Rivers" film encourages me to reach out this mid-summer day.
Unfortunately, so too does dire news on the Klamath River: for the first time ever, the Klamath River tribes, the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa will not have a commercial salmon fishing season in 2017. Even their subsistence fishing limit will be far lower than one salmon per tribal member. This is because drought, global warming, dams and diversions have sent the return rate of spawning adult salmon to a predicted record low of only 11,000 as compared with nearly 100,000 just a few years ago.
A study just released by UC Davis scientists predicts that 52% of California's salmon and trout species will go extinct if the pace of water diversions and global warming do not slow down. *
Indigenous people defending the waters of the Klamath and the Missouri rivers from outside industries is the critical, front-line story of our times. We need your help to cover the film's pressing expenses and to keep our work on track. Please take a look at the reel and donate if you can. We need to raise $3,200 by the end of the month.
Enjoy your summer outdoors! Please take time to appreciate all our relatives that surround us, and who make life possible.
Todd Darling, Director, "Two Rivers"
The oil pipeline started commercial operation at the beginning of June thanks to an executive order by President Trump that revived the pipeline's construction in late January, 2017.
Our film, "Two Rivers" will continue to monitor these developments. Please consider financial support for this important feature film that tells the story of indigenous people fighting for clean, healthy water on both the Klamath and the Missouri Rivers.
Thanks for your support!
Donald Trump has pulled the US out of the Paris Climate agreement.
“Scientists said Trump’s action could have grave consequences for the planet, making it less likely that the world will avoid the 3.6 degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature used as a benchmark for dangerous and irreversible climate change.” (San Francisco Chronicle, June 2, 2017)
Faith that politicians in Washington DC act for the health and welfare of our future generations must be at an all time low. If we can’t trust them to act responsibly, then that is left up to us.
Right now the people most likely to be on the front lines fighting global warming, fighting to keep the oil, gas and coal in the ground, fighting to keep our drinking water clean and our rivers alive are Indigenous people. They live in places where the damage will be most profound. Their example can move people from a position of apathy and confusion towards hope and action.
“Two Rivers” the new film about Indigenous centered leadership, on the Klamath River and at Standing Rock will energize audiences. “Two Rivers” provides dramatic example of what needs to be done from those on the front lines.
We need your help to bring this film about their leadership to audiences across the US. (Sample Reel - "Two Rivers" https://youtu.be/WeZ5RaeF0sk )
Trump said he pulled out of the Paris agreement because he wanted to protect jobs in the fossil fuel industry. His obvious and backwards favoritism to a polluting industry, in which he is personally invested, jeopardizes everyone. I have seldom worked on a project with such a direct impact on such an enormous problem.
We need money to keep editing and production moving forward. Time is of the essence. To paraphrase one of the Lakota organizers in “Two Rivers” – generosity is a tool for our survival.
There continues to be a steady stream of news related to oil pipelines and Standing Rock. The Army Corps of Engineers recently refused to make public their environmental report on the Dakota Access Pipeline, citing "security" concerns. And, the legal cases against over 700 people arrested will be playing out for months.
Thanks for helping us to keep up our momentum! Share this campaign if you can.
More up-dates to come. Thanks! Todd