New film wades into Cowichan waters

Resilience, the new documentary from the team that brought you Once Upon a Day Cowichan last year, is set for a premiere showing Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. This intriguing presentation is about the Cowichan River and reunites composer Eric Smith and filmmaker Nick Versteeg, who presented their previous award-winning collaboration to local cheers and widespread accolades.

The venue for the premiere is again the Cowichan Theatre and the $7 per person tickets are going fast.

Versteeg gave a sneak preview of the documentary Tuesday, Jan. 28 as part of the national Watershed 2014 conference being held at the Quw’utsun Cultural and Conference Centre.

The music is again centered around a single selection. This time it’s a piece by Ed Peekeekoot.

"I heard him playing it on the flute at the Islands Folk Festival and afterwards I went up to him and said, ‘I want to buy that song off you,’" Versteeg explained to the crowd.

Smith composed around that melody, weaving his music through the film’s many subjects.

The documentary talks about the Cowichan River, its watershed and its fish population.

Paul Rickard of the Cowichan Watershed Board said he looks on it "as a complex jigsaw puzzle."

He was the first of a galaxy of experts and interested people whose comments added depth to the presentation.

Others included Tim Kulchyski, Rodger Hunter, Parker Jefferson, Brian D. Tutty, Gerald Thom, Ted Brookman, Brian Houle, Kenzie Cuthbert, Gary Fiege, Brian Riddell, Deborah Epps, Julie Salisbury, Bill Sassaman, Goetz Schuerholz, David Anderson, Craig Wightman, Kate Miller, Paul Fletcher, Warren Flennor, Joe Saysell,

Ruston Sweeting, Jane Kilthei, Nikki Wright, Eric Marshall, Wilf Luedke and Daniel Joe.

They represent everything from umbrella groups like the B.C. Wildlife Federation, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the B.C. government and the Cowichan Valley Regional District to waterside homeowners and fishing guides.

Subjects include everything from the need to protect the Shaw Creek estuary, which Gerald Thom of the Watershed Board called "a jewel" whose loss would be "catastrophic" to how to counteract ongoing pollution in the estuary at Cowichan Bay and bring back harvestable shellfish, to flooding, gravel deposits and how to maintain a sustainable water level in the Cowichan River.

There have been notable successes, such as the reclamation of the cliffs above Stoltz Pool and work to relocate huge sediment deposits near Cowichan Bay, but there is another big project above Skutz Falls coming up either this year or next, where the problem of eroding cliffs will have to be addressed, experts said.

The conclusion is that there are great challenges facing the Cowichan River and its watershed but with good will and short-and long-term visions there is a great chance for success.

Seating is limited so get your tickets early.

Contact the Cowichan Ticket Centre at 250-748-7529 to reserve.

But, Versteeg said Jan. 28, there are also plans to show the documentary in Lake Cowichan and Cowichan Bay, with dates and times to be announced later.