PORT ANGELES — “River as Spirit: Rebirth of the Elwha,” a 30-minute documentary by Leaping Frog Films, will have its Port Angeles premiere at 7:45 p.m. Saturday at the Elwha Heritage Center, 401 E. First St.
Admission is $7 for the general public and free for Lower Elwha Klallam tribal members.
“People will get to see the entire watershed from the headwaters to the mouth,” promised Shelly Solomon, the filmmaker from Leaping Frog, an environmental video production firm based on Marrowstone Island.
Solomon and cinematographer John Trapman used a Cineflex camera to shoot the “River as Spirit” footage.
Then Solomon engaged Jamie Valadez of the Lower Elwha tribe to narrate the movie — in her native Klallam language.
English subtitles are provided, Solomon noted.
“That was a fun project,” Valadez said earlier this week.
“I got to fly up above the Elwha in a small plane” back in September, she said.
Her response when Solomon called to pitch the idea was: “That is so cool.”
The flight, she said, along with narrating the film, was “the highlight of 2011.”
Valadez, who teaches Klallam at Port Angeles High School, serves as a tribal historian in the larger community.
“River as Spirit,” she said, explores how the Elwha’s health is deeply connected with the health of the Klallam people.
The movie was filmed one day last summer before the removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams ramped up, added Solomon.
“It was a stunning day . . . really, really beautiful,” she said.
Solomon infused her work with Native American poetry and music, and said that more than anything, it is an art film.
The music has beneath it the sound of a heartbeat to reflect the idea that the Elwha has its own heartbeat.
“It’s a really emotional film,” Solomon said, “a meditation on the soul of the river.”
Solomon hopes to show “River as Spirit: Rebirth of the Elwha” at other venues after Saturday night. She can be reached at 360-385-3998 and email@example.com, while more information about Leaping Frog Films is available at www.EnvironmentalDesignandConsulting.com.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.