LA Couple Makes Waves with Forgotten River

Their film, "Rock the Boat," about a journey down the LA River, has its city premiere Thursday.

The Los Angeles River, notorious for cameo appearances in major Hollywood action scenes, finally moves in for its close-up and stars in its own film.

Rock the Boat – Saving America’s Wildest River is a doc that uses as its hook the 2008 boating expedition down the entire 51-mile length of the LA River. The trip proved instrumental in changing federal policy and winning the river historic Clean Water Act protections by the Environmental Protection Agency.  
Produced and directed by Thea Mercouffer, and featuring her husband, George Wolfe—a writer and kayaker—Mercouffer recalls the origins of her film: “I overheard my husband planning the trip and I thought: ‘George is boating the river. He might get arrested.’ Then I turned to my new business partner and said, ‘Let’s go film it!’” Four years later, her hour-long documentary is ready for its LA premiere.

Already having received People’s Choice and Best Feature at film festivals, Rock the Boat will premiere on Thursday, Oct. 4 at the Downtown Independent theatre, 251 S. Main St.

There will be a reception from 7-8 p.m, the screening follows at 8 p.m. A Q&A with  environmental dignitaries will follow.  

Click through for ticket info.

The event will mark the start of a wave of community screenings scheduled to unfold locally and nationally. REI, the City of Santa Monica and the Audubon Center at Debs Park are just a few of the presenting partners who’ve committed to hosting community screenings.  If you have a good idea for a riverside venue or neighborhood, contact the filmmakers at the link below.

With a keen eye for the surreal landscape of the urban river and a soft spot for humor, the film details the events of the now historic expedition and features the major figures who’ve worked tirelessly for years to bring back the waterway’s dignity.

Rock the Boat extends beyond L.A.’s particular issues and explores a primary question confronting all cities: How will we continue to supply fresh and affordable water to urban populations without gutting other natural resources elsewhere?  The film also brings to life the grand-scale vision for a sustainable city with a vibrant revitalized river running through it.  

What began as a nutty idea, eventually swept up the Mercouffer-Wolfe household. “I witnessed George and Thea constantly juggle family life, day jobs, fundraising for the film and coordinating trips on the river. Even their teenage son was called upon to help as a volunteer, and their little girl knows all about the LA River,” says RAC Clark of Lion’s Heart Entertainment, one of the film’s producers. “Their home is a non-stop LA River workspace.”

Now that California’s legislature has voted to expand the river’s recreational use, and that the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative identified it as one of seven urban rivers to receive revitalization funding, plus the kayak program being one of L.A.’s hottest ticket this past summer, and the movie headed for its premiere, Mercouffer and Wolfe feel grateful to have been part of the move to bring attention to the river, and gratified that more and more people are drawn to this major natural resource and its amazing potential.  

They also hope to catch up on their sleep soon.

# # #
To find out more about the film and to watch the trailer, go to http://www.rocktheboatfilm.com

(You can also see it in the attached gallery.)

To find out more about LA River Expeditions, go to http://www.lariverexpeditions.com

Rock the Boat can be contacted via producer Randi Johnson at 310-455-2015, randijohnson73@gmail.com.

Lisette P October 02, 2012 at 03:53 AM
We went down the L A River last Friday. It was profoundly beautiful. Yes, there is still trash to clean up. Less than we expected. The wildlife was surprising: Grey Herons, White Herons, Egrets, ducks, American Coots, Osprey, Hawks. Our guides from LA Conservation Corps were knowledgeable and helpful. We can't wait to go again. It was a great surprise to us, to be in L A and have this experience of beauty. Lisette and Norm Palley
Jimmy Iaei October 03, 2012 at 03:12 AM
So it was a wonderful trip through the treated sewage wastewater from the Tillman Plant and urban runoff. Who knows what organics will be just upsteam? The whole idea of the LA River is just silly. Without the sewage it would be a dry riverbed except for winter runoff, maybe we can bring back the flood of 1938?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something