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SHAFTED-Help Fund This Documentary

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I'm Lou Douros; I'm a local Nevada County filmmaker. I've lived in Grass Valley for thirty years. My home borders Wolf Creek, one of the pristine waterways that once supported the small Nisenan Native American tribe... and later became a source of wealth for gold miners seeking their fortunes here.

The Idaho-Maryland Mine here in Grass Valley, CA was one of the most productive gold mines during California's Gold Rush. It was closed during WWII when the mines here were deemed "non-essential".
An outside company, Rise Gold Corp, purchased the property in 2017 and plans to restart the Idaho-Maryland Mine. The operation will produce a quarter of a billion dollars annually at today's gold prices if the new owner does nothing more than replicate the previous effort.
But underground water tables rose and now flood the hundreds of miles of mine shafts. The water is likely contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic and asbestos as well as chemicals used in the legacy extraction process. Initially, the company will pump three million gallons of water per day into small tributaries that lead through the rich agricultural Sacramento Valley and into San Francisco Bay.
Will the massive gusher of wastewater destroy small, pristine trout streams and riparian land along Wolf Creek and Bear River? Nevada County residents question whether their well-water will disappear, or worse, become contaminated with leftover mercury. Will new sinkholes open up?
  • Photo: Wolf Creek high water during a storm, roughly half the proposed outflow from de-watering the mine.
Will Rise Gold make good on the promised increase of high-paying jobs? Or will they, like so many other corporations seeking their fortune at the expense of small, powerless communities, put their own interests ahead of the town? What will happen to the local roads when hundreds of trucks carrying rock tailings begin to dispose of the underground tonnage? Grass Valley, now part of the wildfire-threatened Northern California that has seen millions of acres burned due to electric utility negligence, will need to come up with more than double its electricity just to power the mine.
I'm making a feature-length documentary that will go to sources for information. And at a time of wild spinning of fact-blurring and flat-out distortions of the truth, I think talking to sources sounds like a good idea, don't you?
This story is personal for me. Wolf Creek is a thing of beauty in my backyard. It's always been important to me, my family, and my friends that there is a stable economy here with good-paying jobs. Responsible capitalism is the only option that makes sense. I see the information Rise Gold is promoting; their draft EIR, funded by them, their economic forecasts, and their gleaming investor reports. Who could blame them for such optimism?
But I also hear the voices of my neighbors, people I've lived alongside for thirty years. They're distrustful of an outside company they feel is posing as a local friendly. They've read the news about Flint, Michigan and have done some poking around the web about Rise Gold. I'm not sure they're convinced.

I'm producing an unscripted narrative documentary. It's what I do. Filmmaking has taken me around the world to some of the most challenging places on earth. I've won awards and been nominated for an Emmy for In the Wake of Giants, which aired on PBS and is now available on Amazon Prime. Locally, I've worked for Nevada Irrigation District. I've produced films for some of the county's bigger companies; Autometrix and Jada. I've created content for local non-profits like Child Advocates and CASA, Music in the Mountains and Young Composer's Project... SAEL Academy. They're all of them, my friends. Maybe it's fair to say they're family. In fact, ask them how I work, they'll tell you. You can also see for yourself on my Vimeo page. (
Here's the thing, and it's a simple thing... I am asking for an amount of funding to bring in other local filmmakers and digital artists to make this thing. Cinematographer, Larry Huntington (a Nevada County lifer), has signed on to help produce and create the visual message for the film. We'd like to pay our mortgages and eat during this time of investigative journalism. We have some potential travel expenses coming up to explore Rise Gold's indiscretions in Canada and an upcoming trial of their CEO.

Your contributions are incredibly important to us all. You have our word that we'll put as much of your backing on the screen as possible. 
My job as a filmmaker is to give my audience the respect they deserve to come to their own conclusions. And so, when I work with two sides of a story, I work 100% to help EVERYONE tell their story. The point isn't to make anyone look bad - if that happens, I've failed. SHAFTED is about all of us sorting this out. A corporation that makes promises must keep them, and so I expect Rise Gold to work with me to show us, convincingly, what they're up to. I also expect those who oppose Rise Gold to form equally convincing arguments, based in facts and true data, what they know. If someone proposes a conspiracy theory, and that's the best they've got... it may just make it into the film. If a company says one thing and does another, it'll be there for the world to see.
We need your help. Five bucks gets us a ways down the road. Five hundred gets us a little further. I'd like to think what we make together here will premiere, at the very least, at one of our local film festivals. But I'll be pursuing Sundance and Jackson Hole and some of the streaming giants as well. So hold onto your hat... or hard hat if that's who you are. Because together, we should see an exciting story emerge over the months ahead.
Please join me.
Lou Douros


  • Joan Staffen
    • $25 
    • 8 mos
  • Robert Wunderlich
    • $100 
    • 8 mos
  • Marion Blair
    • $50 
    • 8 mos
  • Catherine Flowers
    • $100 
    • 8 mos
  • Ray Baldock
    • $100 
    • 8 mos

Fundraising team (2)

Lou Douros
Grass Valley, CA
Larry Huntington
Team member

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