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2014 Wine Country Film Festival

Return of the River

Directed by John Gussman and Jessica Plumb

EcoCInema / USA / 2013 / Documentary, Drama, History / 69 mins / English / Northern California Premiere

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Return of the River

The Dunbar Elementary School
September 21, 2014 4:00 pm


This documentary vividly portrays the epic story of the freeing of Olympic National Park’s mighty Elwha River from two salmon-blocking dams. The Elwha Klallam Native American people, scientists, fishermen, politicians, enviros, and townsfolk all add their voices to a film that is visually dazzling and lyrically evocative.  Currently the largest dam removal project in the history of the United States, the success of the collective action on the Elwha is a template for success on climate change, energy policy, ocean conservation… and hundreds of other issues. Perhaps most surprisingly, in the course of the film we witness adamant opponents to dam removal have a powerful change of heart.

Followed by a discussion with John Gussman, Gary Yost (The Invisible Peak) and an invited representative from Sonoma County Land Trust (local Stuart Creek restoration project).

Director's Bio

John Gussman

John has been a professional photographer for over 40 yrs. After graduating from college with a degree in photography, he started as a photo journalist in Californai back in 1973. After moving to Washington State he has been sucessfully running his own business, Doubleclick Productions, since 1982. John has lived in Sequim for 35 years, and spends most of his time hiking, camping, fishing and photographing the beautiful Olympic Peninsula.

Jessica Plumb

Jessica Plumb came to live on the Olympic Peninsula a decade ago, leaving behind a career in Boston and Beijing. Jessica is a filmmaker and writer whose work focuses on the relationship between people and the places they call home.


As the Director of Plumb Productions,, Jessica has produced numerous educational and promotional videos for clients in the arts and environmental organizations. She has worked on documentary and narrative films screened at festivals in the role of editor and behind the camera. She has created award- winning short films that are best described as video poetry.

The intersection of place and human experience is a theme that runs throughout her work.
Jessica holds a B.A. from Yale University and an interdisciplinary MFA from Goddard College. She has pursued continuing education in documentary film, digital storytelling and photography at the New School University of New York, Anderson Ranch, 911 Media and the Maine Photographic workshops.

Jessica is delighted to be collaborating on a film about the land she’s grown to love. She is intimately familiar with the Olympic Peninsula, having hiked many of its valleys and ridges with her family.


Writer: Jessica Plumb
Producer: Jessica Plumb
Executive Producer: Sarah Hart
Music: Jonathan Haidle
Cinematographer: John Gussman
Editor: Jessica Plumb

Preceded By

  1. The Invisible Peak

    George W. Daly and Gary Yost / Shorts / USA / 2014 / Documentary, News / 22 mins
    Narrator Peter Coyote provides both a historical and spiritual overview of the long continuum of humans relating to and caring deeply for the peaks of Mt. Tamalpais. An extraordinarily beautiful visual experience that must be seen on the big screen.

    Precedes: Return of the River

Dates & Times

Return of the River

The Dunbar Elementary School
September 21, 2014 4:00 pm