Filmmakers, Narrator Among Panelists at Feb. 22 Magic of Cinema

Filmmakers Shelly Solomon and Kent Cornwell will be present on Friday, February 22, when Peninsula College’s Magic of Cinema film series screens River as Spirit: Rebirth of the Elwha at 7:00 pm in Maier Performance Hall. They will introduce the film and talk about it afterward.

Also participating in the discussion will be Jamie Valadez, the Lower Elwha Klallam tribal member who narrates the film in the tribe’s native language, and Frances Charles, Chairwoman of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

Adeline Smith, a Lower Elwha Tribal Elder and expert in the Klallam language, is also expected to attend.

The film is cosponsored by the Peninsula College Longhouse “House of Learning.”

The 32-minute film is in the Klallam language with English subtitles and is a poetic look at the Elwha River, exploring how the river’s health is connected to the health of Klallam people. The film was shot by John Trapman, an aerial cinematographer with an extensive Hollywood resume, specializing in the latest helicopter-mounted stabilized camera (600,000k) equipment.

According to Solomon, the “film is a meditation on the soul of the Elwha River and the people and salmon who have been a part of it for thousands of years.”

Just a week before the historic Elwha Dam removal work officially began, Solomon and Trapman flew and filmed the entire length of the river, from its source high in the Olympic Mountains to the mouth at the Strait of Juan de Fuca. When the two later viewed the footage, they decided to assemble it and set it to tribal native language, music and poetry.

Robbie Mantooth, Peninsula College Professor Emeritus and volunteer for Clallam County watersheds and North Olympic Land Trust says, “It's hard to imagine a better experience than hearing speakers of the Klallam language, seeing the river from its headwaters to its mouth, and receiving wisdom of Tribal leaders and poets.”

Solomon, along with Cornwell, is the cofounder of Leaping Frog Films. Together, the two have made it their mission to bring to the public stories of dedicated people working to restore and protect the natural environment.

Solomon is also a biologist, licensed landscape architect and water quality restoration specialist with many years of experience in resource and environmental planning, design and compliance. She is the recipient of Sustainable Seattle’s 2010 “Leadership in Sustainability in the Natural World” award for her film work.

Admission to the film is $5 general; Peninsula College students will be admitted free-of-charge with a current student ID.