The Journey Begins
Fish On - A Reel Retreat
Today I launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for my new fly-fishing documentary FISH ON - A REEL RETREAT. Fish On is film that will document the stories of a group of men with cancer who have come together for three days of healing, relaxing and fly fishing at a Reel Recovery Retreat. Reel Recovery is a non-profit organization that hosts dozens of retreats for hundreds of men every year. They're a pretty amazing group of people.
I was first introduced to Reel Recovery by my good friend and partner in this endeavor, Reese Ferguison. Reese has been one of my best friends for well over 20 years. He's one of the few people on earth who remembers that I once had long, thick hair. I was not born with the male pattern baldness that now inhabits my head. The baldness, I am convinced, is the result of pulling my hair out in the early years of becoming a fly fisherman. Thousands of snapped flies as the result of poor casting, thousands of birds nest tangles as a result of poor casting, thousands of missed fish due to my slow reaction, thousands of hours spent watching fish ignore my fly as a result of not understanding bugs and thousands of hours of enjoying every minute of it led to the departure of my hair.
I have spent the past fifteen years working as a freelance, independent filmmaker. I've produced commercials, corporate videos, narrative feature films and an ESPN football documentary. Filmmaking is what I do for a living. I've spent nearly all my life fishing the rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs of Idaho. Fly-fishing is something I live for.
For years I've wanted to combine my passion for filmmaking and storytelling with my love for fly-fishing. I simply hadn't found the right story. When Reese told me about Reel Recovery, a light went on in my head. I knew, almost instantly, that I had found a story (stories, in fact) that I would be honored to tell.
The story of Reel Recovery, for me, begins with my friend. Last year Reese was diagnosed with melanoma. He underwent surgery, a litany of tests and months of ongoing treatment. In August, Reese will attend the Idaho retreat as a participant and I'll tag along to document his experience. In September we'll both attend the 2nd Idaho retreat, to document the stories of those participants. One of the great things about making this film is the opportunity to spend time with my buddy. So you know, Reese is now doing very well and speaks very eloquently about his experience with cancer and how fly-fishing has helped him in the healing process.
I am often asked "why" I enjoy fly-fishing so much. My stock answer is always some version of this: "Because when I'm fishing, knee deep in a river, stumbling along the banks, staring down a drifting fly, nothing else on earth matters. Fishing, for me, is a complete disconnect from the world and all the problems and worries, no matter how big or small, that inhabit my life".
Men with cancer are facing life altering situations and profound worries that I cannot begin to understand. Typical day-to-day worries about money, work, my car or my lawn can wreak havoc on my nerves, but they certainly pale in comparison to what those men are facing. It is my hope that fly-fishing gives these men a few days of relief and departure from their worry. I look forward to getting to know the men and the people at Reel Recovery and to losing ourselves in the amazing process of getting a hook into a trout's lip.
Because I am in the process of raising money via Kickstarter to produce this film, I think it's important that you all know I am volunteering my time. I am not being paid to make this documentary. The money raised will go towards hiring my crew, travel, equipment and all other things that go into the making of a feature documentary. I can volunteer my time but there are many costs I cannot cover. For that reason, I invite you all to visit my Kickstarter page and to contribute. There are many great "rewards" for the money you give.
Both Reese and I look forward to sharing our journey to a finished film here on Global FlyFisher. Please follow our story by checking back for updates. We promise good stories, videos and pictures.
Thanks to all.