Movies

RETURN OF THE RIVER: ELWHA DAM REMOVAL DOCUMENTARY

dam on Elwha RiverThere are two dams on the Elwha River in northwestern Washington State.  Built in the early 1900's, these dams are a legacy of bygone times and are slated for removal in September 2011.  This is an unprecedented project, with technical, social, and environmental implications that are anything but trivial.

Journalist and photographer John Gussman has dedicated his time to making a documentary about these processes.  The actual dam removal is not the end of the project, it will be just the end of the first act.  After the massive perturbation of the dam removal, the river will slowly settle into a new routine.  As the river adjusts to its new life, so will the people who live in the region.

This review is unprecedented in that it is about a movie that is not yet finished. Gussman has blazed a new trail by applying his journalistic skill to create a web site that something of a living documentary — it allows you to watch not just the process of the dam removal, but it contains a growing media and resource collection that allows you to see something of the evolution of the film as well.  This is great example of how our 21st century technology can be used to go beyond the typical static picture created by a documentary and breathe life into the community and the environment being portrayed.

This project is an unfunded labor of love for John Gussman, so please make use of the "donation" button on the web site to contribute to the project's success.

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