The Klamath Tribes are fighting to save the sacred C’waam fish and with them a way of life that has been practiced since time immemorial. The Tribes’ creation story tells us “If the C’waam go away, the people go away.” Once the most important food fish in the Upper Klamath Lake region, C’waam were caught by the thousands and remain a centerpiece of the Tribes’ culture and annual Return of the C’waam ceremony. Today, C’waam are headed for extinction as every summer toxic algae blooms overwhelm the lake, killing most of the young fish that are the future of the species. Boating, birding, paddling, and fishing are other casualties of a dying lake. The Tribes are desperately working to save the C’waam through conservation and better management of scarce water and reducing polluted run-off from agriculture and cattle operations. Healing the lake and restoring the habitat C’waam need to live will not be easy, but practical, inexpensive solutions can be implemented right away that will make a real difference.
Jeff Ostensen and Charles Atkinson have been crafting movies, TV commercials and other media together for more than 15 years at North Forty Productions. While co-directing brings many challenges and the two may disagree on many an artistic decision, the two continually focus on the story being told and the audience engaging with it to provide emotionally engaging and entertaining films, always better because of the partnership. Both agree that film encourages audiences to feel empathy for others, which, in their opinion, makes the world a better place.