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Film Aims for Warm & Fuzzy Feelings for Endangered Cold-Blooded Critters

November 8, 2010

BOISE, Idaho - An epic tale of the Northwest is headed for the big screen. The story of endangered wild salmon in Idaho is more than a story about lawsuits, political debates, science, electricity and irrigation. That's the case being made in a film premiering this week, called "The Greatest Migration."

Filmmaker Andy Maser follows the fishes' journey as they swim upstream from the ocean, to spawn in the rivers and lakes of Idaho, and interviews those along the way who are interested in saving the species for what are often personal reasons. For example, a Nez Perce tribal elder talks about how his grandparents were able "hear" the fish rushing upstream.

"We're showing the emotional connection, cultural connections, that cause these fish to be the icon and the cornerstone species of the Northwest ecosystem."

The fish travel farther inland and higher than any other salmon in the world when they successfully reach Idaho's Sawtooth Valley.

Maser says the fishes' remarkable journey and importance to local history and cultures are often overlooked, and he hopes his project will provide fresh perspectives.

"You have to get people motivated to care, to take that next step, and get those processes rolling to change the economics, and change the politics."

The film was paid for by a Portland production company, Save Our Wild Salmon, and KEEN Footwear.

The film trailer is at vimeo.com and can be embedded on websites. This week's premiere is in Portland; the film's showing in Idaho is TBD.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - ID