Rig to Flip, a river documentary producer, is planning a film on the Dolores River.
In 2015, film crews will travel the Dolores from its headwaters at Lizard Head Pass to its confluence with the Colorado River 200 miles later.
“We choose rivers with a rich story to tell,” said filmmaker Cody Perry in an interview. “The natural beauty, history and current issues of the Dolores River are fascinating.”
The fact that a whitewater release from McPhee dam into the lower Dolores River has not happened since 2011, does not deter Perry.
“I’ll walk the river if I have to,” he said, adding that even in dry years sections of river are consistently reliable for boating. During spring snowmelt a 40-mile stretch above the town of Dolores flows well, as does the lower Dolores from the confluence of the San Miguel River to the Colorado River.
The dynamics between different users of the Dolores River can be controversial, and reporting on diverse interests is part of the story, Cody says. But Rig to Flip docs avoid solely focusing on a particular viewpoint.
“It will be an honest reflection of a natural resource and the way it fits into the lives of community members in different ways,” Perry says.
Life before and after the dam interests the filmmakers, as does the economic benefits of irrigation farming and river recreation.
Perry, of Steamboat, has a background in outdoor education, ranching, and river running.
“I look forward to exploring the river, meeting the ag community, and further defining how use of the river has changed and influenced people over generations,” he said.
Perry and his small film crew will be at the second annual river permit party on the evening of Jan. 16 at the Dolores Community Center. The event and pending documentary are being sponsored by the Dolores River Boating Advocates.
DRBA was awarded a $12,000 grant from Patagonia for the film. But an additional $5,000 to $10,000 will have to be raised to finish the documentary, said DRBA coordinator LeeAnn Hill.
“It is our first documentary so we are learning that it cost more than we thought,” she said. “The Dolores is a complex system, and we want to present the different aspects in the film and highlight the joy of boating the canyons.”
“Rig to Flip” refers to a boater’s mantra to insure beer coolers and camping gear stay firmly attached to the boat during a wipe-out.
The new documentary company recently released a documentary on the Yampa River.
“Warm Springs” documents the natural disaster in 1965 that created a massive new rapid on the Yampa. A rockslide suddenly changed the river, catching river runners by surprise and causing a fatality. It can viewed at http://vimeo.com/109045576 and will be shown at the permit party.