THE COLORADO is a purely visual documentary accompanied by original music, exploring water, land and survival in the Colorado River Basin. The project is conceived as equal parts, documentary film, live performance event, and an educational tool for classrooms.
THE COLORADO consists of ten episodes, providing windows onto the history of the region through the perspectives of actual and imaginary characters.
An Indian story-teller mixing legend with geology, a Jesuit padre crossing the Colorado River to settle the argument whether or not California is an island, an out of work acrobat working as a high-scaler at Hoover Dam, and an undocumented migrant worker working in the fertile fields irrigated by the Colorado River are among the cast of characters.
The Colorado River is an aquatic thread to this seemingly disconnected sequence of episodes, both across time and space.
The collaborative team of THE COLORADO includes John Luther Adams, William Brittelle, Paola Prestini, Sarah Kirkland Snider and Shara Worden as composers; Sylvestre Campe, David Sarno, and myself as filmmakers; Mustafa Ziyalan as lyricist, and the historian and conservationist William deBuys as the general advisor of the project. His book Salt Dreams: Land and Water in low-down California is one of the main inspirations of this project.
THE COLORADO stands alone as a documentary film intended for broadcasting and theatrical release. There is also a live traveling version of THE COLORADO, where the film component is integral to the concert performances.
The project is also accompanied by a study guide, designed for secondary and higher education. Once exposed to a holistic history of the Colorado River Basin, students will be guided to develop their own projects, exploring different regions.
The mission of THE COLORADO is to create a cross-roads between art, ecology and regional history, while sensitizing audiences to pressing issues of our times. A VisionIntoArt production, in collaboration with New Amsterdam Projects.
“the music — commissioned from five composers and performed by some of the most innovative soundsmiths around — is specifically tailored to the film’s passionate environmental advocacy and carries equal weight with the visual.”
“Some is outright gorgeous. Ms. Prestini’s choral piece for the section “A Padre, a Horse, a Telescope” sets Jesuit sources — including a Hail Mary in Cochimi, an extinct Native American language — to an ethereal blend of Mexican Baroque music and otherworldly ululations.”
“But the music…! The Colorado’s soundtrack positively radiates optimism.”
“A soundtrack at its most pure, this live score imparted a more resonant sensation than just film or concert alone; the whole evening brought together both sight and sound at the height of their powers.”