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-   -   UWOL #11 : "The River" by Kevin J Railsback (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/uwol-challenge/136478-uwol-11-river-kevin-j-railsback.html)

Kevin Railsback October 22nd, 2008 07:16 PM

UWOL #11 : "The River" by Kevin J Railsback
When the theme was announced, my first thought was to do something about disappearing habitat.
The weekend prior to the announcement, my wife and I toured several homes during the annual "Parade of Homes." Area home builders open up their recently constructed homes to the public as a kind of showcase for their company.

One of the homes we toured was a million dollar plus home built in a remote section of town.

While the house was truly incredible, what really stuck me was that the development was being carved out of a beautiful tract of forest. It was prime wildlife habitat that was being destroyed in order to build these opulant homes.

So, for a couple of days I thought about doing my film on the loss of this habitat. At the base of this development was a beautiful natural pond. And that's when I remebered a story that would have to put this idea on the back burner for now.

This was a story that I felt was huge but was reported as almost an afterthought.

During the massive 500 year flood we had this past June, the main waste water treatment plant was flooded and had shut down.

This meant that twenty-five MILLION, that's 25,000,000 gallons of raw sewage was being dumped into the Cedar River EVERY SINGLE DAY.

The river was closed due to all the debris from the flood so no one really seemed concerned that we were dumping raw sewage into the river at such an astronomical rate.

There were never any reports on what the sewage was doing to the river. Nothing about how it was effecting wildlife, nothing at all. How can you dump twenty-five million gallons of raw sewage into a river every day and not be concerned on its impact?

The more I thought about it, the more I knew that the river was going to be my habitat.

My early thoughts about "The River" had to do with the things that depended on the river. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the river itself needed to be the star.

As soon as I realized that the film was about the river itself, I knew I wanted to ask Bob Safay to be the river's voice. Luckily for me and for the film, Bob said yes.

The film just sort of made itself. I'd come home after a morning of shooting, lay down some video tracks in my editor and they just seemed to fit. Adding Bob's voiceover was the perfect finishing touch.

I hope you enjoy it.

Link to larger version:The River By Kevin Railsback On ExposureRoom

Catherine Russell October 22nd, 2008 07:39 PM

Hi Kevin;

I sort of spent all of my emotional reaction to this in my email before you put up the thread, so I'll let everyone else heap praise instead. Let me just say that you are a master at the "big cinema" feel to your films, your artistry with your camera work... you are an inspiration.

I think this is your best effort, and Bob's narrative and voice made it such a dramatic and compelling story. Way to go Bob! You were wonderful!

This was a masterful team effort that simply blows me away.

Thank you!

p.s. Is the problem fixed yet? Is the pollution getting attention? Can the river be reclaimed? You have left us hanging about this!


Meryem Ersoz October 22nd, 2008 09:57 PM

Safay and Railsback is a terrific combination. Why didn't you boys think of that sooner!

Bob, your VOs just get better and better, the pacing and tonality and your ability to put the sentiment out there. A script that could have come across as heavy-handed, instead has a lighter but still serious touch, in your hands. It's really like listening to the river or the earth speaking.

And Kevin, this is definitely your best shooting ever. Just beautiful. Even the ugly stuff is shot so beautifully that it almost takes away your point! That things are being wrecked by human indifference -- it's hard to be convincing of that when you yourself embody the opposite of indifferent. Fantastic cinematography, the lighting is terrific, and it is great to see you getting an entry together for this round.

But it is not just the shooting, but you are refining how you want to tell your story, and that gives it another dimension beyond pretty pictures and music.

Both you guys have such a deeply rooted love of the planet and combining your talents produced a fantastic piece. I usually try not to comment on these until after the contest, but the two movies that I have seen so far have been so moving, I could not help it.

Dale Guthormsen October 23rd, 2008 09:58 AM


Great images for portraying a message everyone should hear. Were I still teaching science I would include this clip in our study of watersheds!!!!

Cat is right, you capture the big cinima feel remarkably!!!

Great job!

Mihali Moore October 23rd, 2008 01:29 PM


Wow! This was amazingly shot. The colours were fantastic and I love the shot of the sun flaring from behind the tree stump. Works beautifully with the music. Story works well too. Fantastic work.

Bill Mecca October 23rd, 2008 02:14 PM

That was gorgeous. Beautifully shot and edited. I loved the slight movement in some of the shots, very smooth. Only thing I might have done differently would have been to space out the VO a bit more throughout the piece, but that is just one man's opinion. One question, were those dogs swimming across early on?

Ron Chant October 24th, 2008 11:20 AM

Kevin I thought I was watching a film from the Steven Dempsey stable just brilliant.
I hope you donít mind me say that.

Opening scene the pan across the sun on the river was as steady as a rock, and then the close up, smooth as silk.

From beginning the end, your Film was just magic, going on from the opening to the last two scenes the water flowing
over the rocks then the slow transition to that long shot looking up river was a stunner.

The Voice! You gave a great narration Bob, polished and crystal clear with a storylie and message that hit home, a great combo.

Mark Williams October 24th, 2008 12:33 PM


Very well done. This was a very emotional piece for me. Great editing, narration and music. Looked like you were using an indieslider type device on a couple of shots. It added a lot to the visual impact. On a personal note people just don't get that it takes more money and resources in the long run to screw up our natural resources than to take the "earth friendly" route in the first place.

Markus Nord October 24th, 2008 02:21 PM

WHOOO HOOOOOooooo Kevin and Bob! Super job, I love it!
A fun thing is that Iím working in a story just like this oneÖ Iím pitching it next weekend for a film support organization here in Sweden. In my story I want to use a female voice, but Bobs ďroughĒ voice fitted very good too.
A very strong story, Iím holding this one as my top choice.

Good job boys!


Chris Barcellos October 24th, 2008 08:12 PM

Wow--- beautiful imagery and soundtrack. Quite stirring.....

Trond Saetre October 25th, 2008 02:46 AM

Kevin and Bob, what a great team that is!
One of your very best videos so far, and my favorite this round.
Nice filming and editing.

The video had a really good and informative story.
Bob, you did very well with the VO!
And I like how the story was told from the river's point of view.

The opening shots have amazing colors.
In the shot at 0:41, is there an animal swimming in the river, or just some debree?

Well done!
Thank you for sharing.

Mat Thompson October 25th, 2008 06:58 AM

wow.....fella! Great work, this is the full package from the Silver phoenix. Message, beauty, drama and all round Railsback mastery of the wet stuff. I have a couple of small editing crits but nothing major.

Top notch!

Catherine Russell October 25th, 2008 07:38 AM

Hi Kevin and Mat:

Forgive me for jumping in and chatting on your own thread Kevin but I was just perusing around a bit before heading out to animal chores and I'm thrilled to see Mat is back! Mat, how was your trip? Did you get a film done and just wasn't around to submit? If so, you should definitely put it out there anyway, we would love to see it.

Kevin's and Bob's film is wonderful, no? O.K. I'll sign off. But Kevin, I still laugh at your comment on my thread about wondering if we perhaps aren't all a part of some kid's ant colony... ha! Actually, I was going to bring it all to that very suggestion, but I ran out of time in the 3 minute time requirement ;-).


Finn-Erik Faale October 25th, 2008 09:16 AM

This film moved me!
A strong film with a serious theme.
I can't forget these ending words:

"I am the lifeblood of your planet. If I die, surely you will follow."

I wonder how you could manage the slowly movements in the river?
What sort of equipment did you use for this take?

Catherine Russell October 25th, 2008 09:17 PM

Thanks again Kevin and Bob:

Watched your film again with my husband. Truly an inspiration.


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