Plunging down a fifteen-foot waterfall into the roiling rapids of a Kootenay creek is paddler and videographer Carl Jacks’ idea of a great time, and it shows. In fact, it’s showing in New Denver as part of the North Valley Mountain Film Festival.
“Deep Runs the Canyon,” 34-year-old Jack’s latest documentary film, mixes artistic visionary elements with stories of local whitewater kayaking adventure. Filmed throughout the West Kootenays, the film follows the Endangered Creeks Expedition, a collective of area paddlers concerned about the offsets of Run-of-River hydroelectric projects.
“Much of the footage is from around Nakusp,” Jacks told the Arrow Lakes News over the phone last week, “The Kuskanax is a hidden gem in the area.”
Having grown up in the South Slocan area, Jacks has always been familiar with Kootenay terrain.
“As a kid we came up here for the hot springs, but paddling really opened it up for me, said Jacks, “I’m a big paddler and the mountains are what I know.”
The mountains, creeks and rapids keep calling him back even though he currently resides in the Okanagan.
“My mind is in the Kootenays but my stuff is in Vernon,” he revealed, and it looks like he won’t be moving out here any time soon, with his new baby and girlfriend settled in Vernon.
Still, the call is undeniable, and Jacks is fortunate enough to be able to work at the Arrow Lakes Hospital and spend some time paddling in the creeks around Nakusp. He’s not alone in enjoying the local waterways. The creeks and rivers are popular with paddlers interested in finding a dynamic “creeking” challenge in the mountains.
“The most popular paddles are just about from the Hot Springs all the way down to the highway, depending on what the flows are like,” Jacks explained.
It was through paddling that he got to know the area, and continues to be “blown away” by the beauty and variety of creeks and falls.
“Visually it’s very compelling,” he said, “The colour of water in contrast to the mountains and rock. I’ve always got the camera out when I’m paddling.”
Using creative and complex camera angles with documentary style story telling, this 23 minute film is bound to impress anyone who has ever been curious of the paddler’s view from deep in the canyon.
“We set up a cable cam on St. Leon creek that provided some really crazy camera angles,” the filmmaker and avid paddler said.
But the film isn’t all that you’ll be getting. Jacks also promises to tell a story about the film that almost killed him and his paddling partner, Endless Adventure operator Chris Ryman. “You’ll see it in the film,” he said, and you could hear a grin in his voice when he said it. Well, actually you’ll see what happens just before the screen goes black. Fortunately, everything turned out fine, the worst that happened was the kayakers had to hike rather than paddle out.
“This is not the first film of mine to feature whitewater kayaking in this region,” Jacks informed the Arrow Lakes News. “In 2009, a similar self produced film titled ‘Symbiosis’ was screened at numerous international film festivals.”
“Symbiosis” featured extensive footage of creeks in the Burton area which at the time were being threatened by several Run-of-River hydroelectric proposals. To watch this video on line, visit: http://vimeo.com/33498129.
If you don’t make it to the March 3 screening at the Bosun Hall (doors 6:30, films at 7 p.m.), “Deep Runs the Canyon” will also be available on Vimeo once it’s gone to festivals in Fernie and Tennessee.