An upcoming film, led by the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance, is expected to be released later this year. Contributed photo

Short film to put spotlight on Red Deer River watershed

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance leading project

An upcoming short documentary will raise awareness of the Red Deer River watershed.

“We’re really excited to bring this to life,” said Rosemarie Ferjuc, outreach and communications manager with the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance, which is leading the film project.

“We hope it’s going to elevate people’s understanding and awareness of land and water issues in central Alberta. Regardless of the lens you view water from, it’s a really critical part of all of our daily lives.”

A crew, including filmmakers Eric Gonzalez and Shae Petterson, travelled to the true headwaters of the Red Deer River in Banff National Park in late August, riding on horseback to reach faraway Oyster Lake and Red Deer Lakes.

Filming will continue in September and will cross parts of the watershed, including Red Deer, Sundre Country and Starland County.

One of the reasons this 10-minute documentary is being made is to “better communicate some of the science visually,” said Ferjuc.

“Our hope with this film is to get people talking a little bit more about water in their everyday lives. Hopefully, they’ll also really enjoy seeing some of the beautiful vistas and parts of the watershed they may not have been aware of,” she said.

“Through that, we’re hoping to weave in the science and put a human face onto the story by profiling the unique citizens within the watershed.”

Water in the Red Deer River watershed originates in the Skoki Valley of Banff National Park, before travelling downstream through communities including Red Deer, Sundre and Drumheller.

The Red Deer River watershed is more than 490,000 square kilometres, which is almost the size of Denmark, Ferjuc added.

The watershed alliance plans on releasing the short film in late 2020, with a focus on reaching municipal politicians across the basin.

“The main audience we’re really focusing the film on is municipal elected officials, and the reason for that is we’ve heard from a lot of municipalities … that are dealing with a lot of different challenges and questions when it comes to planning and decision making,” said Ferjuc.

“One thing they often ask us is how they can integrate water better in terms of land use and decision making. That’s another reason we wanted to make the film. We want to be a resource for these municipalities.”

The project is supported through funding from Alberta Ecotrust Foundation, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, Dow Canada, the Red Deer and District Community Foundation and Rocky View County.

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