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The Colorado River: Past, Present and Future

Jean-Christophe BENOIST

Some call the Colorado River the “American Nile,” but unlike the Colorado, the Nile actually reaches the sea. In a new documentary film, the filmmakers Jamie Redford and Mark Decena trace the path and history of the West’s most iconic waterway, capturing, along the way, the Colorado’s importance to both the landscape and the millions of people who depend on it. The photographer Peter McBride has also extensively documented the river, and he’ll join Redford, Decena and of course Doug on Monday to profile the Colorado River.

  • On Tuesday, August 28, the Utah Film Center, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy, is hosting a screening of Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West at the Main Library in downtown Salt Lake at 7 p.m. Mark Decena directed the film, Jamie Redford served as a producer, and Jamie's father, Robert Redford, is both the film's narrator and its executive producer. Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion featuring Decena, Jamie Redford, Sue Bellagamba (Canyonlands Regional Director for the Utah chapter of The Nature Conservancy), and Gary Wockner (the director of the group Save The Colorado), with Dave Livermore (Utah State Director of The Nature Conservancy) moderating. Visit the Utah Film Society's web site for more details.

Watershed Trailer from Kontent Films on Vimeo.

Chasing Water - Trailer from Peter McBride on Vimeo.


  • Mark Decena is a Sundance Lab Fellow and Festival alum. His 2003 film, Dopamine premiered in dramatic competition and won the first Alfred P. Sloan Prize. Watershed is his first hour-long documentary.
  • James Redford writes, produces and directs for film and television. He produced Watershed. Earlier this year, his documentary film The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia premiered at Sundance 2012. Jamie also plays guitar in the band Olive and the Dirty Martinis.
  • Peter McBride is an award winning photographer, writer and visual storyteller whose love of adventure, cultures and the outdoors have taken him on assignment throughout the world to over 60 countries. He’s an author and photographer, along with Jonathan Waterman, of the book The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict, and he producer, filmed and wrote the documentary film Chasing Water.
Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.