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‘The Colorado’ Explores the Southwest’s Most Important River

August 27, 2020

The Colorado

“The Colorado,” an epic film about North America’s wildest river, will premiere on Arizona PBS Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. The broadcast marks the film’s public broadcast premiere as well as its DVD/Blu-Ray release.

“The Colorado” is a sweeping exploration of the river’s history, from the earliest settlements in the region to the impact of climate change today. Along the way, the film tells the stories of European and Anglo-American explorations in the 18th and 19th centuries, the dam-building era and its consequences, agriculture and immigration, and the fate of the river’s delta in Mexico.

The voice narrating these stories belongs to stage legend and Academy Award-winner Mark Rylance, familiar to Arizona PBS viewers from his starring role in the “Masterpiece” series “Wolf Hall.”

Five critically acclaimed composers — William Brittelle, Glenn Kotche, Shara Nova, Paola Prestini, and recent Pulitzer and Grammy winner John Luther Adams — also add their unique voices to this narrative. The one-of-a-kind score is masterfully performed by Grammy-laureate vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, percussionist Glenn Kotche (of the popular band Wilco) and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler (formerly with the Kronos Quartet).

To tell the river’s full story, director Murat Eyuboglu and three-time Emmy-laureate filmmaker Sylvestre Campe filmed across a vast geographical region over a period of four years. “The Colorado River Basin extends from the high mountains of Wyoming and Colorado all the way to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico,” Eyuboglu said. “Striving to capture the character and grandeur of this geography was as inspirational as it was humbling.”

In addition to the broadcast premiere, “The Colorado” will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray to those who donate to Arizona PBS. A companion book, “The Colorado River,” which mirrors the film’s gorgeous photography, will also be available at azpbs.org/colorado-gifts. Proceeds help to fund programs like this one that focus on our region and communities.

The film debuted in live performance at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in May 2016, winning unrestrained critical praise. Said the New York Times, this “visually captivating and unsettling” film maintains “a delicate balance between didactic drive and meditative awe.”

“The Colorado” is produced by The Colorado, LLC, VISIONINTOART and National Sawdust.