Totem Bridge - The Film

Hello, my name is Cody Lewis. I am Director/Producer of TOTEMBRIDGE ( official website ). In partnership with the Northwest Film Forum we invite you to celebrate and be a part of this incredible 20 day journey.

All contributions are 100% tax deductible thanks to our fiscal sponsor Northwest Film Forum and will go directly to the film's production expenses and helping us put the best possible product on screen.

A father and self-taught fly fisherman leaves the inner city to join an Indigenous-led voyage throughout Salmon country to fight for the historic freeing of the Snake River.

Supporting this film's production will bring some very important & complex issues of man and earth to light.  The rarity of our main character Gian Lawerence - a black man from the inner city - to be such an invaluable advocate and activist for nature, specifically the waters of the Northwest is a beautiful gift.  For him to be invited on an Indigenous led totem journey and to be the eyes and ears exploring these ancient cultures is a unique moment in time that feels incredibly important to document.  And for all of these themes to be culminating around the impact of the Salmon decline and the action that must take place to save not only one species, but the 130+ species that are dependent on their existence, is unparalleled.  

With your help we can bring this timely story to life.  We can help our protagonist tear down stereotypes and gain incredible knowledge of the Pacific Northwest Indigenous cultures.  And through Gian, we can show how the harmony between these beliefs and western and environmental science, and bring people together around our shared future.  That is what "the Bridge" is all about.  The TOTEMBRIDGE.
Funding Needs:
Currently we are fundraisingfor the production phase of this feature documnetary, which includes the 20 day Totem Journey and additional scenes.  Below is the breakdown of expenses to cover the production cost of the film:

Production and Travel Costs to cover Initial Scenes and Totem Journey: 
Production Staff:  $36,000 (I will be donating my time In-Kind for this project)
- Production Manager:  Arianne Autaubo Martinez (Kiowa/Creek)
- Associate Producer: Raven Two Feathers (Comanche/Cayuga/Seneca) 
- Field Production Specialist: Tokala Tatum (Yakama Nation/Rose-bud Sioux)
- Director of Photography: Donald Mckinnon
- Production Sound Mixer: Ross Smith
- Director: Cody Lewis

Equipment Rental - $10,490 
Travel - $21,336 
Gian Stipend - $7000 
Gian Travel - $3000 
Stipend for Jewell James and Lummi Carvers - $4000 

Total Production and Travel Costs - $81,826 

Film Preface:
The Snake River is the most endangered river in North America due to the four dams on its lower reaches that have contributed to the sharp decline of the wild Pacific Northwest Salmon and the other species that depend on them. Tribal Nations from across the continent have protested against the dams since their construction, but the calls for their removal have reached a heightened intensity in recent years.  TOTEMBRIDGE is a documentary film that will explore the cultural and relational values that lie between industry and nature.

Our film follows Giancarlo "Gian" Lawerence, a young black father from the inner city.  Known to many as “The Black Stonefly,”  Gian grew up (and was nearly killed) in Tacoma’s notorious Hilltop neighborhood.  Desperate for a life off the streets, he taught himself how to fly fish, and from that unlikely mediation, his new life began.  Gian has pushed through racism and constant discouragement to blaze a trail for other people of color to enjoy nature and the outdoors.  

After viewing the award-winning biographical short film, The Black Stonefly, (click here to see trailer) Se’Si’Le, an indigenous-led non-profit, requested Gian to meet Jay Julius, the former Lummi Nation Chairman and Jewel Praying Wolf James of the House of Tears Carvers in person.  Gian has been bestowed a great honor to be invited as a guest and a witness to join these Indigenous leaders on their Spirit of the Waters totem pole journey.   Its mission:  To remove the lower four dams of the imperiled Snake River and restore the waters of the Pacific Northwest, from the Snake River to the Salish Sea.

Gian’s pilgrimage is a coming of age story, a transformation of a man into a champion for the wild.  TOTEMBRIDGE is about cultural environmental bridging.  It is a film to show that no matter your skin, race, religion  or cultural differences, we all share commonality and concern for the planet. Without care for Earth and what it  provides all life will cease to exist.

Director Testimony:
My family immigrated to the Pacific Northwest during the early 20th century.  Having been a family that has lived in the state of Washington for 100 years, I have heard stories and been shown photos from my grandfather of the great Salmon runs of the Columbia River.  Our history is dwarfed by the caretakers of this land who have lived here for thousands of years, and in research of this project, I have truly been humbled to have learned so much about the people and their relationship to Salmon and the harmony in which they have lived together.  Although without the technology of dams and the electricity they have brought to the region, I may have never been able to call this place home.  
It is a paradox, but one that we can now hopefully remedy.  Globally, we have come so far.  The research, the science, the technology and the resources that we now have as human beings, is all there for us to make a difference to repair the damage caused.  We the people of the Pacific Northwest, the government body of the region and the United States have a decision to make.  Choose dams or choose Salmon.  Indecision to do nothing will result in extinction.  We must take action and now is the time for us all to make a difference.  

Donations (59)

  • Michelle Mulholland
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 2 yrs
  • Paige Blumenthal
    • $25 
    • 2 yrs
  • Sarah Curtis Lopez
    • $75 
    • 2 yrs
  • reno militello
    • $10 
    • 2 yrs

Fundraising team: The TOTEMBRIDGE Family (4)

Cody Lewis
Raised $7,920 from 28 donations
Seattle, WA
Northwest Film Forum
Arianne Autaubo
Team member
Raised $615 from 14 donations
Tokala Tatum
Team member
Raised $250 from 4 donations
This team raised $2,695 from 13 other donations.

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily.

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about.

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the  GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.