IN THE HEART OF A CITY,
A WILD MIRACLE AWAITS
A FILM BY
There is something astonishing happening in the city of Vancouver. Largely unnoticed amidst vehicle traffic, industrial sites and construction, wild salmon are returning to their ancient spawning grounds.
Once an important salmon bearing area, this watershed became severely degraded as the city grew. The run collapsed and was declared “dead”. As salmon are iconic for people in British Columbia, concerned citizens became engaged.
The rewilding has begun to pay off. After disappearing for 80 years, people can now witness the autumn spectacle of these powerful swimmers fighting to reach the streams they hatched in. To have a salmon run taking place within city limits is almost completely unique in a metropolis of this size.
Filmed with a quiet, observing lens over many years, "The Return" takes us into hidden enclaves of wilderness within the city, where tiny salmon smolts shimmer beneath the water's surface. Now that they have come back, their future is in our hands.
Run Time : 20 min
Marina Dodis is a documentary filmmaker based in Vancouver, Canada. Her background is as a still photographer, both for clients and magazines, specializing in portraiture, architecture, travel and documentary. In 2012, she graduated from the Documentary Film program at Capilano University. Her student film, Going Strong, was acquired by Knowledge Network (BC’s public broadcaster) and featured in a number of local film festivals. She has worked for a wide range of organizations, corporate clients and publications, making more than 15 short films. For the majority of these films, she has been the director, cinematographer and editor.
Very close to Marina's home in East Vancouver, news broke that there were salmon in a tiny creek that runs amongst vast parking lots. It was the first time they had made it to the area in decades. Like many who have witnessed this marvel, Marina became enchanted by the experience and began to film, with the hope of making a contribution to protecting the salmon. This film is an invitation to explore where one lives and witness the resilience and rejuvenating effects of nature in our midst.
JB MacKinnon is an internationally respected journalist and writer. His book The Once and Future World examines how people respond to nature through greed, coupled with amnesia. His work centres on the possibilities within reconnecting and rewilding.
Mike Pearson is a biologist with 30 years of field experience, specializing in habitat and population assessment of salmonids and species at risk. His work includes habitat restoration and enhancement, in conjunction with environmental groups, Indigenous communities and academic researchers.
Morgan Guerin is the Aboriginal Fisheries Officer for the Musqueam First Nation, on whose land this film takes place. He is also a councillor and conducts educational tours for guests and visitors to c̓əsnaʔəm, his village that dates back at least 4,000 years.
Dianne Ramage is the Director of Salmon Recovery at the Pacific Salmon Foundation and has won achievement awards for her work in wild salmon protection and recovery. She has been a streamkeeper in the Greater Vancouver area since 1998.
John Templeton is president of the Stoney Creek Environmental Committee and has been part of the revitalization of the watershed for over 16 years. His efforts along with fellow streamkeepers has helped bring back salmon to the area after a 55 year absence.
Director: Marina Dodis
Producer: Marina Dodis, Lauren Weisler
Cinematographer: Marina Dodis
Additional Camera: Mike McKinlay, Grant Baldwin
Sound: Marina Dodis, David Daoud
Editor: Marina Dodis
Consulting Editor: Jenn Strom
Animation: Jenn Strom
Soundscape: Hildegard Westerkamp
Norwegian Short Film Festival:
10-14 June 2020
DOXA Film Festival:
18-26 June 2020
Friday Harbour Documentary Film Festival:
San Juan, Washington, USA
15-25 October 2020
Science On Screen:
5-8 November, 2020
Wild & Scenic Film Festival :
Nevada City, California
14-24 January, 2021
World Community Film Festival :
5-13 February, 2021
Colorado Environmental Film Festival :
12 – 21 February 2021
Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival :
19-28 February 2021
Festival of Ocean Films:
21 - 31 March 2021
International Wildlife Film Festival :
17 April - 15 May 2021
Seoul International Short Film Festival :
1May - 31 May 2021
Northwestfest International Documentary Film Festival :
6 - 16 May 2021
Short Circuit Film Festival :
1 May - 31 May 2021