It has been nearly three years since FRONTLINE creator David Fanning contacted us to license Red Gold, a day we’ll certainly never forget. Another day we’ll never forget is when FRONTLINE kicked our asses out of Boston during the re-edit. It took a few months for them to realize that having the Red Gold name on their program was a bad idea, considering it was partly funded by donations from anti-Pebble non-profits. [you gotta respect their journalistic integrity] Travis, Lauren and I tucked our tails and headed home—knowing that the most important thing was that awareness of the issue would be spread into more than a million homes when this sucker airs [tonight!] After several more filming missions by us, and one by a PBS crew, “Alaska Gold” premieres all over the country tonight and should be available for streaming here at FRONTLINE. Thank you FRONTLINE for this phenomenal opportunity—even if our credits are buried deep, we couldn’t be more proud. Expect a drastically different film, more along the lines of the classic FRONTLINE style. —bk
Here’s the synopsis from FRONTLINE: The Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska is home to the last great wild sockeye salmon fishery in the world. It’s also home to enormous mineral deposits—copper, gold, molybdenum—estimated to be worth up to $500 billion. Now, two foreign mining companies are proposing to extract this mineral wealth by digging one of North America’s largest open-pit mines, the “Pebble Mine,” at the headwaters of Bristol Bay. FRONTLINE travels to Alaska to probe the fault lines of a growing battle between those who depend on this extraordinary fishery for a living, the mining companies who are pushing for Pebble, and the political framework that will ultimately decide the outcome.
We tried to make a little ski film in Japan… I wouldn’t say we failed miserably, but I do think we could use some more practice. Lots more. Like every season I hope. Hokkaido, we miss you. High fives to Steve Casimiro for the Q&A and Instagram gallery on the best blog ever, The Adventure Journal.
It’s a proud day at Felt Soul headquarters as we welcome Mallory Dolores Smethurst [the little girl at the bottom left who isn't crying] to the team. She’s 5 days old now and according to Frank “she’s already double hauling in her crib and scanning the horizon for fish.” It seems like yesterday when Frank was pale as a ghost and scared shitless when he found out what he’d done, but we all knew he’d make an incredible father. Frank, Carol, we love you and we’re so happy for you.
It was starting to feel like a never-ending awkward moment…
A situation you walked into carelessly without consideration of how you’d escape. I wanted to design the Red Gold DVD myself, but if there’s anything I’m slower at than editing it’s design. I’m convinced Travis had dreamed of killing me in my sleep with an icicle with one hand while texting a professional designer with the other. “It’s done, you may begin the design” he would text. I made the mistake of telling Travis that I wasn’t positive the play button in the DVD menu would actually function… [Apple's DVD Studio Pro was created by Satan under the label "unintuitive torture device"] I didn’t realize the impact my concern about the play button would make on Travis. I don’t think he slept well for a month, and I’m pretty sure his girlfriend didn’t get any foot rubs during this anxiety ridden time.
When the 5,000 DVD’s arrived by semi in Denver, we quietly off-loaded the boxes into Travis’s garage and didn’t speak until a the first DVD was loaded into the player. While the menu loaded, I gritted my teeth and rubbed my forehead almost anticipating a headache. Travis looked pale and prepared for disappointment as he glanced at the remote for the play button. Thank fuck, it played. It took a full two years for us to get to this point… a man-hug happened… Travis said I could be his friend again and we congratulated each other on a job well done. This is where you’d click to order a DVD if you like that sort of thing: www.feltsoulmedia.com/products
Yes, our Felt Soul T-Shirt model is single and she prefers guys who aren’t nice.
I have a crap load of Felt Soul news to report. First off, we made T-shirts. They’re inspired by and dedicated to my dead kitty “Mila.” She was gray, adorable and enjoyed eating mice slowly while they were still alive and spraying piss on down jackets and comforters. My roommates were not fond of her due to the overwhelming stench of urine on their beds. One roommate whom I won’t mention by name [Drew Ludwig] drop- kicked her out of his loft. She recovered, but continued to only use her litter box for going number two. Another roommate named Ryan Bonneau www.secretsofflyfishing.com had planned on removing her tail for use as a Taimen stimulator pattern in Mongolia. Turns out she died of a severe kidney infection and couldn’t help peeing where she slept. The poor thing didn’t know what she was doing wrong. I had to give her an IV to hydrate her for the final days of her life and Ryan ended up burying her while I was out of town. One sec, I have to wipe the tears off my keyboard… ok, I’m good now. So that’s the story of Felt Soul’s first T-shirt. We made a small batch to see if anyone would actually buy one, and they’re on the website www.feltsoulmedia.com under “The Merch.”
This is Fly’s design is edgy, and makes us feel more important than we are.
“This is Fly” http://www.thisisfly.com/?l=698 , a web site entirely too steezy for the sport of fly fishing has honored us with another article on what we’re up to. They asked me to write the intro [my first ever published writing I warn you] and Travis fielded their questions about our Red Gold project toward the end. You can find our story “Giving a Voice to the People of Bristol Bay” on page 63. I think This is Fly is the future of magazines. As wonderful as it is to have something tangible that you can flip through and then leave in the bathroom for six months, it just seems wasteful. Thisis the link to our previous story: http://www.thisisfly.com/?l=169
To our utter disbelief, The New York Times asked Travis and I to produce a short profile on the sport of Skier Cross for their website during ESPN’s Winter X-Games. After jumping up and down and high-fiving like a couple cheerleaders on Ritalin we said “yeah, sure… maybe we could squeeze that in if you’re lucky.” We’ve never filmed or edited on deadline before, so it was a brutal shock to our natural instinct to procrastinate. ESPN only allowed us to film during a couple hours of practice so getting all the shots we needed from a mile-long course was challenging. We finished filming on a Friday afternoon and didn’t wrap the editing until 9am on Saturday. With no sleep and enough Red Bull to implode a rhinoceros heart we had pulled it off. The short was supposed to be centered around Daron Rahlves, the most decorated alpine downhill skier in American history but he didn’t give us much to work with on camera. He still has a decent role thankfully because he went on to take the gold medal thus making our piece more newsworthy. Who knows if we’ll ever hear from the Times again, but either way it was a huge honor for Felt Soul. Here’s the link if you want to take a gander. It’s 4 minutes long and starts with an annoying commercial that you can’t skip. http://video.on.nytimes.com/?fr_story=7ebb9df591d5be842923e600a7afda2ed8bee168