Stream Film Festival Environmental Documentaries March 16–31

Posted March 14, 2021 at 4:30 am by

From Fri­day Har­bor Film Festival

Fri­day Har­bor Film Festival’s Direc­tor Series presents four online films: “The Return of the River“and “The Mem­o­ry of Fish” from March 16 to 31, and “Dolores,” in col­lab­o­ra­tions with the WSU San Juan Islands Agri­cul­tur­al Sum­mit, from March 20 to 27 at

Screen each film for only $2.95.  A new short film, “Ris­ing from the Ash­es,” will be avail­able free.  These doc­u­men­taries offer view­ers hope for envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice and social change. Direc­tors will be host­ing livestream Q&As. Check the web­site for details.

“Return of the Riv­er” (co-direct­ed by Jes­si­ca Plum and John Guss­man) fol­lows a group of strong-mind­ed, com­mit­ted peo­ple as they attempt to change the pub­lic opin­ion of a town, and even­tu­al­ly the entire coun­try, to remove both dams on the Elwha Riv­er in Wash­ing­ton State. The film tells the sto­ry of the largest dam removal and riv­er restora­tion project in his­to­ry. It explores an extra­or­di­nary com­mu­ni­ty effort to set the riv­er free and doc­u­ments an unlike­ly vic­to­ry for envi­ron­men­tal justice.

The cam­era soars over moun­tain head­wa­ters, dives into schools of salmon, and cap­tures tur­bines grind­ing to a halt as the project takes shape. “Return of the Riv­er” fea­tures peo­ple and per­spec­tives on all sides of the Elwha debate, reflect­ing the many voic­es of the adja­cent val­ley. The com­mu­ni­ty comes to a con­sen­sus, set­ting the Elwha Riv­er free and show­ing the way to a more sus­tain­able future.

“The Mem­o­ry of Fish” was co-direct­ed by Sachi Cun­ning­ham and Jen­nifer Galvin. The salmon of Washington’s Elwha Riv­er sus­tained Dick Goin for the first half of his life.  He and his fam­i­ly had been nour­ished by these salmon since migrat­ing to the Olympic Penin­su­la dur­ing the Dust Bowl. 

But since 1913, when a dam with­out any fish pas­sages was con­struct­ed across the riv­er, the salmon pop­u­la­tion had declined to less than 90% of its for­mer size.  Goin nev­er for­got his debt to the salmon and spent the last half of his life fight­ing to bring these fish back to the riv­er.  A pulp mill work­er and mas­ter fish­er­man by trade, he drew on his mem­o­ries and per­sis­tence to bat­tle for the biggest dam removal project in U.S. his­to­ry. “The Mem­o­ry of Fish” paints a doc­u­men­tary por­trait of the hero­ism of one man with a mis­sion: to bring the salmon home.

“Dolores” was direct­ed by Peter Bratt. Dolores Huer­ta is among the most impor­tant, yet least known, activists in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. An equal part­ner in co-found­ing the first farm work­ers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enor­mous con­tri­bu­tions have gone large­ly unrecognized.

Dolores tire­less­ly led the fight for racial and labor jus­tice along­side Chavez, becom­ing one of the most defi­ant fem­i­nists of the twen­ti­eth century—and she con­tin­ues the fight to this day, at 87. With inti­mate and unprece­dent­ed access to this intense­ly pri­vate moth­er to eleven, the film reveals the raw, per­son­al stakes involved in com­mit­ting one’s life to social change.

“Ris­ing from the Ash­es” was direct­ed by Shane Ander­son. Less than six years ago, the sec­ond of two dams on the Elwha Riv­er, on Washington’s Olympic Penin­su­la, was tak­en out to pro­vide access for fish to the upper riv­er locat­ed in the Olympic Nation­al Park. Since then, we have wit­nessed a remark­able trans­for­ma­tion of the riv­er – and of the wildlife that depends on it.

In cel­e­bra­tion of Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Month, Dolores Huer­ta will par­tic­i­pate in a free livestream Q&A at 3 p.m. Sat­ur­day, March 27. Join online at  It will be record­ed to enable those who can’t par­tic­i­pate to watch free online. Fur­ther infor­ma­tion about her is avail­able at the Dolores Huer­ta Foun­da­tion and at Dolores Huer­ta Social Jus­tice Net­work.

You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.

Categories: Arts, Entertainment

No comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0