- Environment, Science, Portrait, Culture, and History
Nestled amongst the mountains and valleys of upstate New York lies the Delaware river system, a network of waterways prized by dry fly fishing enthusiasts for its challenges and remoteness. Catching the wild trout that call these waters home is no easy feat, making the fishermen who hunt them all the more passionate about their craft. Filmmaker Aaron Weisblatt’s documentary explores the annals of these angler’s obsession, from the art of casting the perfect line to the sport’s origins as a secretive art known to a select group of local fishing families. Contrary to dry fly fishing's clandestine beginnings, each man and woman who lines the banks of the Delaware’s watershed is eager to share their carefully honed skills with rookies and veterans alike. Along with its sweeping beauty, Land of Little Rivers provides a charming glimpse into a subculture where unique personalities are as likely to amass as the fish they relentlessly pursue. – Avery Davenport
- Show treatment
Land of Little Rivers is a feature length documentary, filmed in glorious 4k, about the unique subculture and obsessive nature of fly fishing. The story takes place in what’s referred to as the “Charmed Circle” - the mecca of east coast fly fishing in the Catskills of Southeastern New York. The film offers the audience not a lesson in how to fish, but a window into this fascinating and complex sport and the beautiful, and unusual places where fisherman live and work. The characters in the film are all consumed with a burning passion, bordering on addiction, for the Lifestyle the sport offers.
The narrative centers on four key dry-fly anglers, some legendary, and others infamous. Dave Brandt is our Wise Sage, a living legend who’s seen it all and is known as an expert in tying the traditional Catskill Fly. He also teaches at the world famous Joan Wulff School of Fly Fishing. Robert Lewis is our Wildman, an infamous river guide, once described as “one pair of pants away from a caveman.” Rob is an expert guide and fly tyer who lives and breathes the sport. Ben Rinker is our Citizen Scientist, schooled in ecology and conservation, who runs a guide business and a B&B called East Branch Outfitters. He’s involved in protecting the health of the rivers he fishes. And then we have The Lady, Rachel Finn, a very well known female guide out of the Adirondacks who smokes cohibas, talks tough, spouts Yiddish phrases and enjoys a shot of whiskey. Or Two.
The film includes other colorful characters like executive producer Bruce Concors, a raconteur, musician and retired businessman with a vast knowledge of fly fishing. Mike Canazon, a bamboo rod maker eloquently describes his obsession with the sport through an amazing story of the fish that got away. And Marty Yi, an Iraq veteran and wounded warrior, speaks to how the sport literally saved his life.
The film uses short, animated sequences to tell the history of dry-fly fishing, beginning with Theodore Gordon, the father of American dry-fly fishing. Historical characters important to the sport, come to life from animated photographs. The film explores the different river systems, their importance to the area and some of the difficulties fisherman experience. Environmental concerns, especially climate change, are addressed when a train derailment dumps 4000 gallons of diesel fuel into the Delaware river, nearly causing an environmental disaster.
- aaron d weisblatt ... Director, Producer, Editor
- Prod. Co.
- cinetrope entertainment
- United States
- Years of Production
- Western Catskills, NY
- Prod. Partners
- Release year
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