Documentary captures trip down Mississippi River | Arts & Culture
At its source in Minnesota, the Mississippi River is little more than a trickle, a small stream that grows as it travels more than 2,300 miles through 10 states and eventually gushes in the Gulf of Mexico.
This Saturday, Oct. 9, Memphians will have a chance to travel the length of the river thanks to a pair of filmmakers who made the trip during the summer of 2009. There will be a free screening of “The River is Life” at 7 p.m. on Mud Island.
Despite having little experience on rivers of any sort, filmmakers Phillip Hullquist and Ryan Jeanes packed a couple of cameras and some camping gear into a pair of kayaks and paddled their way down the continent’s longest river.
“We were absolute greenhorns in every sense, but that is a great source of humor in the film, and that, I believe, is part of the reason I wanted to do the trip,” said Jeanes. “I wanted to challenge myself, put myself in a situation where I was totally out of my element.”
Now the filmmakers are in nearing the end of their second trip down the river, but this time they’re traveling on land. They’re showing the film for free in 45 of the cities along the river.
Hullquist and Jeanes say they were inspired by the written accounts of trips down the river, but didn’t know of any trips that were captured on film.
“No one had ever made a documentary capturing the people met and the experiences had,” said Jeanes. “This movie does that. This trip was part dream, part business; and the cool thing is that people feel inspired by the film. They feel inspired to live their dreams.”
And Jeanes says he and Hullquist were in turn inspired by the people they met as they followed the river downstream.
“My favorite part was the people we met,” he said. “Everyone is so unique and you get to meet most of them in the movie. We chose to make a movie about the people first, the trip second and scenery last.”