From the Producer:
Based on a book that has become a fly fishing (and literary) classic and set on the breathtaking rivers of Oregon, THE RIVER WHY is the story of 20 year old Gus Orviston. Sick of living in a home shrouded with secrets, lies and a smothering sense of competition, Gus (Zach Gilford, Friday Night Lights) runs away from home and the shadow of his famous fly-fishing father (William Hurt). Determined to live life like he wants it, Gus makes his new home in a secluded cabin on the banks of a river where he plans to fish all day. Instead, he is propelled into a quest for self-discovery. An assortment of eccentric characters, including a free-spirited girl (Amber Heard, The Rum Diary) who shares his fondness for fishing, helps him find his way toward adulthood.
In addition to Gilford, Heard and Hurt, THE RIVER WHY stars Academy Award nominee Kathleen Quinlan (Apollo 13), Dallas Roberts (Walk the Line), Emmy and Golden Globe nominee William Devane (Knots Landing). It co-stars Alex Hurt (the son of William Hurt, in his first feature film role), Nikki DeLoach and Gaittlin Griffith.
Directed and edited by Matthew Leutwyler, the film was produced by Kristi Denton Cohen and Peloton Productions in association with Ambush Entertainment and StopTime Productions. The screenplay is by Thomas A. Cohen and John Jay Osborn, Jr.
The film won the Audience Award at the Naples International Film Festival and the Jury Award for Best Feature Film at the TriMedia Film Festival. It also won “Best Narrative Feature Film” and Zach Gilford won “Best Actor” at the Alaska International Film Festival. THE RIVER WHY won “Best Cinematography” at the Ashland Independent Film Festival. It is nominated for “Best Original Score – Indie Feature” category at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.
Background of Film:
From book to screen, The River Why took nearly 25 years to complete. The novel on which it is based went on to be named (by the San Francisco Chronicle) one of the 100 most important novels ever written about the West. Screenwriter, Tom Cohen, bought the rights in the mid 1980’s, but was unable to attract sufficient financing. This did not prevent Tom and his wife Kristi from using lines from the book – and the film – in their 1987 wedding vows and part of their honeymoon in Oregon was spent scouting locations. In 2004, following the success of her award winning feature documentary, “Vertical Frontier,” producer Kristi Denton Cohen took on the project. Himself an accomplish fly fisherman. William Hurt’s interest in The River Why in 2005 brought new energy to the film as did the collaboration with director, Matthew Leutwyler and his company, Ambush Entertainment. The film was shot in Portland, Oregon and on the Wilson, Clackamas, Nehalem and North Umpqua rivers. Rehearsals, which focused on improving fishing technique (as well as allowing the actors to sharpen their roles), took place on the Henry’s Fork and Three Rivers Lodge.
Over the years, the production has been helped by some fly fishing legends including Mel Krieger, Andre Puyans and Jim Van Loan. Jason Borger was the technical adviser and fly casting double on the movie—just as he had been in A River Runs Through It.
The Greening of “The River Why”:
The production made every attempt to be as “green” as possible. Sustainable production practices were incorporated as much as possible. Despite initial reluctance from various members of the crew, nearly 6000 plastic water bottles were eliminated from use and there was approximately a daily 40-50% diversion rate of solid waste. When shooting on the primary river location, members of the crew camped out to avoid commuting. The principals in the Camera department – 4 big guys – carpooled in a Prius. (“Greenlit,” a documentary about efforts to make “The River Why” green was directed by Miranda Bailey, one of the executive producers.)
Film Website and Trailer
The website is www.theriverwhy.com. The trailer is there and also on youtube.
A percentage of profits from the film will be donated to non-profits that support rivers and fish.
Kristi Denton Cohen
38 Miller Avenue, #488
Mill Valley, CA 94941
f: 415.383.8431 e: [email protected]