(NEWARK, NJ) — The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents a demonstration of American rivera feature-length documentary by Chatham filmmaker Scott Morris, at his largest theatre, Prudential Hall, on Friday, January 20, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. American river is an exciting cinematic adventure about an ambitious 4-day kayak trip on the Passaic River.
The film is equal parts a scientist’s memoir of growing up by the river that inspired her life’s work, a story of the Garden State’s growth and development, and a beautiful travelogue that offers incredible bird’s-eye views of the state’s pristine wilderness American river was inspired by the book by aquatic ecologist Mary Bruno, An American River: From Paradise to Superfund, Afloat on the Passaic in New Jerseypublished in 2012.
Bruno grew up on the banks of the Passaic in North Arlington, a suburb of Newark. To fully explore the river’s history and how it became one of the most polluted waterways in the country, she kayaked down the river — an 80-mile journey through seven counties and 50 municipalities — from its beginnings in one Conservation area to its lowest reaches near Newark Bay, now a Superfund site still recovering from industrial disasters of the last century.
Nearly a decade after the publication of her book, filmmaker Morris persuaded Bruno and her guide, veteran kayaker Carl Alderson, to retrace that journey on camera and see how the Passaic’s fortunes had changed
, Thanks to the efforts of environmentalists, boating enthusiasts and community groups. Captured in minute detail by a fifteen-strong film crew with ten 4K cameras, filming from land, from the air and often from the bow of Bruno’s kayak, the documentary not only chronicles their voyages, but also, like the Passaic, tells the story of New Jersey.
The story of the Passaic and Bruno’s journey along it improbably touches on the real estate development that organizes the Great Falls of Paterson, the career of founding father Alexander Hamilton, the allure of a classic Jersey diner, the history of team racing and the impact of community.
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Although the film has screened at film festivals across the country, this screening at NJPAC marks the film’s first screening in Newark, where much of the film is set while the filmmakers delve deeply into how the city’s industrial development impacted the river’s critics has “Lower 17” mile route that leads to Newark Bay.
“It’s a film about Newark, and we hope people in the city will find it inspiring and compelling,” says Morris. “We didn’t want the film to be preachy and dark. We want people to fall in love with the river, so take care to protect it.”
“The wonderful thing about the film is its hopeful tone,” agrees S. Dillard Kirby, the film’s Executive Producer, who noted this between the release of Bruno’s book and filming American river In 2018, the Great Falls in Paterson were designated a National Historical Park, and the cleanup of industrial waste in the “Lower 17” had begun after years of protests and litigation. Kirby also financed one of Morris’ earlier films, Saving The Great Swamp: Fight for the jetportcurrently being broadcast by American Public Television.
The Arts Center screening will be followed by an audience talkback session featuring Morris, Bruno and Alderson.
“NJPAC’s role as a cultural anchor means this arts center is where our community comes together to talk about our history, our future and what matters most to us,” said John Schreiber, President and CEO by NJPAC.
“We’re excited to offer our community this opportunity to learn more about the river that in so many ways made our city what it is today – and to find out how the work of their neighbors was so instrumental in creating the river.” Saving river for our children and grandchildren. ”
General admission tickets are $5 and are available at njpac.org.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located on One Center Street in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is America’s most diverse performing arts center and New Jersey’s artistic, cultural, educational and civic center – where great performances and events enrich and transform lives every day . NJPAC brings diverse communities together, offers access for all, and showcases the best artists in the state and world while serving as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its hometown. Through its extensive arts education programs that have reached nearly 2 million children, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and art enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 10 million visitors since opening in 1997 and fosters meaningful and enduring relationships with each of its constituents.