(a word from the writer and one of the minds behind the Find Your Water video series, and Gray’s Angling columnist, Miles Nolte)
The idea behind this film, Contradictions, was to bring together people within the fly fishing community who may see themselves as opposed. We wanted to highlight cohesion, that as anglers and especially fly anglers, we have more in common than we may assume. This is a divisive time in our culture, broadly, and even though fly fishing is a very small subculture, we felt this issue to be topical. The Big Horn seemed an obvious choice to display this, because it is a world renowned fly fishing river that attracts visiting anglers from all over the globe, but it happens to be located very close to Billings, Montana, a deeply blue-collar town whose economy is based on agriculture and extractive industries. By focusing our film on Billings residents who work in mining and oil, but who love fly fishing and identify as fly fishermen, we were able to explore some of those perceived cultural divisions. Our main character, Richard Schwend, is a hard rock miner who feels alienation from the fly fishing community because of his job, but also catches flack from his mining buddies for being a fly angler. Early on, when we first interviewed Richard as a character for this film, he talked about feeling like a contradiction, and that shaped the direction of the project. He also talked about his love for rivers and clean water and how that passion affects the way he does his job everyday. He knows that a mistake on his part or on the part of someone else in his mine could be destructive to the trout fisheries he loves, and that knowledge drives him to be extra attentive to what he and others at the mine are doing.
We wanted to create a film that might open some discussion between people in our shared subculture who think they are in opposition to each other. Redington was on board with our ideas and gave us the green light. We hope people watch it and are entertained by it, but we also hope that it gets people thinking and, perhaps, even talking, not yelling at each other but opening avenues of actual dialogue.
My interest in videography isn’t new, but my participation is. I’ve long felt that fly fishing films, like all films, need strong narratives. When RC and I started talking about collaborating last year, I knew that I’d found a filmmaker who shares my belief that good films are based in the same principles as print media–well developed stories and compelling characters. We have more films coming that we hope will catch audiences’ attention.