Local man makes award-winning movie, showings in Independence, Mammoth this week

A former Independence resident is making good on his dream to make movies and is planning to share his latest production in Inyo and Mono counties.

Forrest Pound, a 2003 graduate of Owens Valley School in Independence, will be presenting the film “Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West” at the Eastern California Museum and the Mammoth Lakes Edison Theatre next week.

The free screenings will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16 at the Edison Theater in Mammoth and at 7 p.m. Friday, May 17 at the American Legion Hall in Independence.

Pound, who worked as an associate producer on the documentary about watershed issues in the Colorado River Basin, said it debuted about a year ago at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C.

Since its premier, the film has attracted attention nation-wide, earning several awards from various organizations, including the Banff Film Festival, the Environmental Film Festival and the Nevada City Film Festival.

Today, the film is screened in communities across the country upon request.

According to Pound, the film “deals with issues in the Colorado River Basin, but it has applications to all watersheds,” Pound said, adding that he was immediately excited about the film because of its parallels with local water issues. “I’ve always wanted to do a screening in the Eastern Sierra because it’s my hometown, but also because of the connection this has with the Los Angeles Aqueduct,” Pound said. “My experience growing up in the valley, there was a connection, I am deeply aware of water issues. This was the kind of film I’ve been wanting to do.”

But it wasn’t Pound who initiated the screening. He explained that a former teacher of his, Janet Hunt, who now works for the Mono County Office of Education, had seen the film and wanted to screen it for her students.

“Once they got it for a screening in Mammoth,” Pound said, “I thought, ‘OK, we’ve gotta do it in Inyo.’”

The screenings are hosted by the Eastern California Museum in Independence and the Los Angeles-based Metabolic Studio.

Pound has worked for the San Francisco-based production company Kontent for three years. He serves as an associate producer for the company, which works on anything from full-length films, to documentaries to television commercials.

As an associate producer on “Watershed,” Pound was responsible for hunting down various “characters” to do interviews for the film. He said those people encompassed a wide variety of users of the Colorado River Basin, ranging from anglers to restoration workers to water and power experts. “I do a little of everything, but I had to find four of the seven ‘characters’ who appeared in the film,” he said.

Pound was also involved in the technical side of the production, serving as an assistant to the cameraman and helping to build and deploy timelapse cameras to capture dramatic changes in water levels on Lake Powell and stark landscape of Moab National Park.

The documentary is directed by Mark Decena and narrated by Robert Redford. Redford and his production company, the Redford Center, approached Kontent with the film idea. Kontent, in turn, brought Pound on board.

Pound said that his company has worked with The Redford Center on a number of projects, including the company’s “Art of Activism” series.

Next week’s screenings are both free and open to the public. Pound said he is planning to attend and he said he would encourage anyone who is interested in local water issues to do the same.

For more information on the screenings, call (760) 878-0258