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Set in the ancient waters of the Puget Sound, Clearwater is a universal story about the need to adapt to change.
Set in the ancient waters of the Puget Sound, Clearwater is a universal story about the need to adapt to change.
251 backers pledged $26,182 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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THE STORY

Clearwater, a new documentary from Tracy Rector and Lou Karsen, is the story of the unique relationship between tribal peoples and the waters of the Puget Sound. For nearly 15,000 years the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest have called these waters home, and have time and again had to adapt to environmental, social and political changes in order to survive. And now, faced with unprecedented environmental challenges that threaten the very chemistry of these ocean waters, they are forced to adapt again. In fact, we all are. Clearwater will explore how and why we adapt, with one eye on the past and one eye looking towards the future. 

This documentary will span generations, gender, and ideology to present a contemporary portrait of an ancient people. We will document long practiced culture, cutting edge science, and the fight to protect a resource in peril. We will travel throughout the Puget Sound, capturing stunning underwater footage, animated histories, and the everyday stories of the ‘people of the clear salt water’.

THE STYLE

GEODUCK HARVEST courtesy of the Suquamish Museum
GEODUCK HARVEST courtesy of the Suquamish Museum

Clearwater is a character-based film. Take the geoduck (pronounced gooey) for instance. It is the world’s largest burrowing clam, and digs its home beneath the waters of the Puget Sound. It is also one of the longest living organisms in the animal kingdom, the oldest on record living 168 years. The Suquamish have dug the geoduck for thousands of years, and now it not only feeds them, but also provides much needed income. Its sweet flavor and aphrodisiac shape have made it a delicacy in China where it fetches $20/lb. The Suquamish dig it, pack it and ship it overnight to Asia, for next day preparation in a dozen ways. But harvesting the prized geoduck isn't easy. Walking the seafloor to find and dig them as far as 70 feet below the surface, breathing air through a mere hose, is a dark, cold and dangerous job. Lydia Sigo, Suquamish museum archivist and lifelong fisherwoman, is one of the few geoduck divers left.

THE SCIENCE OF OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

Lydia Sigo - Suquamish Geoduck Diver and Museum Curator
Lydia Sigo - Suquamish Geoduck Diver and Museum Curator

We will dive into the Puget Sound with Lydia, and document many other Tribal community members' connection to the water: how they utilize and protect the life it brings forth. Paul Williams, a Suquamish Tribal biologist is working to address a threat greater than any that has come before: ocean acidification. NOAA's global ocean acidification measurements place the Northwest and the Puget Sound among the most acidic on earth. Shellfish are literally deteriorating. What does this all mean? How will this affect the tribal communities of the Puget Sound? How do you adapt if you lose the one thing that defines you? We will explore these questions and the impact of this issue on the culture of the people.                                                                         

COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS and PARTNERS

From modern day culture bearers in the youth council, to the archaeologist turned Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman, to Coast Salish elders who recall when fishing wasn't an industry, but a way of life, everyone who lives near the water has a deep connection to it. Our film will document these stories to show the importance of this water, perhaps the oldest ocean water in the world, and the culture that it has supported for thousands of years. 

WHO WE ARE/OUR WORK

The mission of Longhouse Media is to catalyze indigenous people and communities to use media as a tool for self-expression, cultural preservation, and social change.  Longhouse Media draws from both traditional and modern forms of artistic expression, storytelling, teaching, and inquiry. 

THE TEAM

Longhouse Media: Tracy Rector and Lou Karsen

Suquamish Biologist: Paul Williams

Suquamish Museum Curator/Diver: Lydia Sigo

Suquamish Elder: Betty Pasco

Muckleshoot Traditional Foods Expert: Valerie Segrest

Makah Tribal Chairman: Micah McCarty

GET INVOLVED / JOIN US

As we launch this project we invite you to join us in our journey. We humbly ask for your support with a pledge to this film.

Meet the Suquamish, people of the clear salt water...
Meet the Suquamish, people of the clear salt water...

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    COMMON SQUID. We really appreciate your donation. Every dollar counts and with a $5 donation look for a "special thanks" on CLEARWATER's social networking sites.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    BUTTER CLAM. Our hands are raised! You too get the special thanks on the film's networking sites AND a beautiful postcard from the film CLEARWATER.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    RAZOR CLAM. Woohoo! $50 bucks gets you a postcard, a special thanks in the end credits of the finished work and your very own copy of CLEARWATER. Be IN the movies. See your name in lights. Well....on screen anyway.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    GHOST SHRIMP. A personally signed DVD/Blu-Ray (in non-disappearing ink) of CLEARWATER, a limited edition poster AND we'll put your name in the end credits of the film.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    PINK SALMON. Yum! Puget Sound smoked salmon, signed DVD/Blu-Ray of CLEARWATER, your name in the end credits of the film and an audio download of the soundtrack. We pinkie promise that the music will impress!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    OYSTER. A signed DVD/Blu-Ray, poster of the documentary CLEARWATER, your name in the end credits of the film, an audio download of the soundtrack and a limited edition good lookin' CLEARWATER t-shirt.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    HARVESTER. You are creating some good mojo so we would like to give you all of the above PLUS a beautiful print by Coast Salish artist Shaun Peterson.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER PACKAGE #1 - ROSE HIPS. Be an Associate Producer of the movie with a featured end credit in the film, receive all of the above PLUS rose hip tea, the brilliant locally published book "Feeding the People, Feeding the Spirit" by Elise Krohn and Valerie Segrest, PLUS a personal thank you card from Tracy and Lou. Tax-deductible donation.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER PACKAGE #2 - CANOE JOURNEY. Be an Associate Producer of the movie with a featured end credit in the film and receive all of the above PLUS you can share in the rich culture of the region as you will get to join our crew and the Potlatch Fund for a day at Canoe Journey, a special Coast Salish gathering of nations in mid-summer. (2013) Tax-deductible donation. Travel and lodging not provided.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    GEODUCK! EXECUTIVE PRODUCER PACKAGE. Be an Executive Producer of CLEARWATER in the credits of the movie and on all official promotional materials, DVD and Blu-Ray releases. You will receive all of the above AND a special invitation to join the film crew at the premiere screening with two VIP tickets! There will be a maximum of three Executive Producers. Tax-deductible donation. Travel and lodging not included.

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Funding period

- (34 days)