The Georgia Chapter of the Nature Conservancy is working with the Coosa River Basin Initiative, Freshwaters Illustrated and organizers of the Rome International Film Festival to bring “Hidden Rivers” to the Rome International Film Festival.

Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman, executive director the CRBI, said friends had seen a screening of the film elsewhere and suggested that CRBI find a way to bring it to Rome.

“We thought that RIFF was the natural place for us to get it screened here in Rome,” said Demonbreun-Chapman.

Katie Owens at the Nature Conservancy, and the staff over at the ECO Center, decided to pool resources to make the event happen and develop some other events to go along with the screening.

“It’s been a big partnership to get this screening to Rome and trot out a bunch of events to focus on our waterways, their ecological diversity and have some fun along the way,” Owens said.

The film is produced by Freshwaters Illustrated, an Oregon-based conservation group. Jeremy Monroe, co-director of the film, said it highlights mountain streams across the headwaters of both the Tennessee and Coosa River systems.

“We have this mission of raising awareness of freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity,” Monroe said. “In North America the place where you can gain the most ground on that mission is right there in your backyard, most of the continent’s fish species, most of the world’s mussel species, most of the world’s salamander species and it goes on and on.”

The film was nearly a decade in the making. Fundraising was one challenge, capturing images of some of the different rare species was another.

“We spent years trying to film Hellbender salamanders. It was three or four years before we understood where we should be to do that,” Monroe said. “Essentially we came out every spring for about ten years.”

Freshwaters Illustrated partnered with the Tennessee Aquarium, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the Eastern Band of Cherokee and others to produce the documentary.

The documentary will be shown Nov. 6 at 7:15 p.m. at the City Auditorium. Afterward, games of ecological trivia will be held at the Rome City Brewing Co. from around 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. After the movie there will be an after-party at the Rome-Floyd ECO Center beginning around 9 p.m.

Tickets for the screening are $10 and the after-party is $25. They are available on the RIFF website


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