A documentary film about the conflict surrounding the delta smelt and the fate of the largest estuary in the western United States.
In California, between the city of Stockton and the San Francisco Bay is the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta. Described by locals as a “thousand miles of waterways” the Delta is home to half a million Americans spread throughout nearly seventy-five thousand acres, the majority of which is farmland.
Another resident of the Delta region is a endangered fish commonly called the “delta smelt.” The delta smelt has a lifespan of two years at typically two to three inches in length. Despite its meagerness, this minnow is at the center of a tremendous legal, economic and environmental conflict in California.
Facing evidence of an endangered smelt population, a Federal Court declared that the distribution of Delta water must be curtailed. These water restrictions reach far and wide, devastating the heart of agriculture in Central California in addition to causing severe water shortages in Southern Californian cities. But without the curtailment, the ecological situation could easily turn from bad to catastrophic. Potentially causing the extinction of the delta smelt and in turn, the collapse of the largest estuary on the west coast of the United States.
Bureaucracy, drought, pollution, budget shortfalls and an abundance of animosity between environmentalists, government agencies and the agricultural community have resulted in a stalemate.
One thing is certain: California is thirsty.
My goal is to create a feature-length documentary film which thoroughly examines the controversy surrounding the delta smelt. My hope is this film will be able to provide a solution to this conflict by presenting a clear, unbiased look at the breadth of the situation to all involved parties whom may gain a better understanding of each others circumstances and together find a solution to end the conflict in the delta.
I have already shot a number of interviews and hours of b-roll footage. The project needs several more interviews and more b-roll footage before production could be considered complete. The bulk of the amount I am attempting to raise is to cover the cost of editing and score.
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