Proponents of a plan to construct a $5.2-billion mega-dam on Alaska’s Susitna River say it wouldn’t affect the watershed’s famous salmon runs because the site would be 184 miles upstream from where fish usually swim. Tell that to Super Salmon, one particularly determined king salmon that swam more than 300 miles, dodging hungry seals from Cook Inlet to the Susitna’s icy headwaters. The Super Salmon highlights the tale of one fish to illustrate the importance of the river to the area’s wildlife, tourism, economy and lifestyle. Told by passionate and animated Talkeetna fisherman and activist Mike Wood, the story examines the potential consequences of constructing an enormous and outdated technology to meet Alaska’s need for renewable energy.
Ben Masters, the producer and star of the 2015 Mountainfilm Audience Award-winning documentary Unbranded, continues to be concerned about how wild horses are treated in the American West. Wild Horse Resolution looks at a method — pioneered by T.J. Holmes, who lives in Disappointment Valley near Telluride — that darts wild horses with a contraceptive to prevent propagation, ensuring better survival chances for the rest of the species.
Through his success with Unbranded, Masters got to know Holmes. And in this short documentary, he tells a story that could change the situation for wild horses.
The Federal Duck Stamp is many things: symbol of a successful wetland conservation program, 82-year-old tradition and requirement for fowl hunters. And for the artists who submit to the national competition each year, it’s the Superbowl of wildlife art, the Big Kahuna of prestige and the ticket to a successful career. (They don’t actually win $1 million, but the esteem catapults them to the upper echelon of their field).
The Million Dollar Duck, a feature documentary by Brian Golden Davis, offers a quirky portrait of the microcosm that surrounds the Duck Stamp, a world of fowl obsession, fierce competition, crushing heartbreak, family dynasty and colorful characters. It follows several artists — sequin-clad outcast, young super-talent and favored winner among them — as they vie for the 2014 prize. Along the way, it sketches the history of a program that’s preserved and acquired more than 6 million acres of wetlands, and tells a story of the indelible bond between art and conservation.