Premiering on New Hampshire PBS in 2020 and screening at the 2022 New Hampshire Film Festival, The Merrimack: River at Risk was directed by Reel Quest Films co-founder Jerry Monkman and written by co-founder Ryan Smith. Inspired and produced by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the film explores why the river was named one of America’s most endangered rivers and what’s at stake if it can’t be saved.
The production of the film included recording more than 20 hours of interviews and filming scenics and other b-roll with drones, GoPros, dollies, and other traditional style cinema set-ups in one of New England’s largest and most historic watersheds. The documentary was filmed at many manufacturing and water treatment facilities in some of America’s first industrialized cities, including Manchester, N.H., and Lowell, Haverhill, and Lawrence in Massachusetts. While producing the film, the crew explored the river in canoes, kayaks, and whitewater rafts. They met and filmed with staff from nonprofits, including the Essex County Greenbelt and the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust, and from government agencies, including the Lowell National Historic Park and the EPA.
In addition to screening at the 2022 New Hampshire Film Festival, the documentary screened at the 2021 Newburyport Documentary Film Festival and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge’s Conservation Film Festival.
+ The Forest Society continues its mission of protecting more land in the Merrimack River watershed. Find out how.
+ Keystone:Voices for the Little Fish also screened at the 2022 New Hampshire Film Festival. Find out more about the project here.