NW Documentary’s feature film Les Voyageurs Sans Trace, is to screen at Telluride Mountain Film. Telluride Mountain Film is “an annual festival, a worldwide tour, a diverse community and a champion for change.” Les Voyageurs Sans Trace’s story follows three French kayakers who descended the Colorado River in 1938 to explore the American West and filmed their feat in color film. The 16mm color film predates Hollywood’s first color movie, The Wizard of Oz, and is the first color adventure film. Director Ian McCluskey stumbled upon the story at a roadside marker. This chance encounter led him to contact a librarian in Salt Lake City who held the keys to their story, including a diary from the 1938 journey. McCluskey returned to Oregon inspired to follow in their footsteps and share the kayakers’ adventure as NW Documentary’s next untold story.
McCluskey has assembled a team of dozens of Portland’s best creatives, among them outdoor adventure cinematographer John Waller of Uncage the Soul and the musical talent of Jenny Conlee of The Decemberists, and a host of other collaborators who have teamed up to tell this intriguing story of adventure and mystery in the American West.
Director Ian McCluskey learned to kayak to follow the 1938 journey of the French Trio. He was joined by Paul and Kate Kuthe, forming their own Modern Trio. The film crew spent 31 days shooting in some of the most remote and rugged canyons of the West, including Desolation Canyon and Canyonlands National Park.
NW Documentary is most well known for their 2008 release Eloquent Nude that swept the NW Emmy awards and toured the world on the festival circuit. NW Documentary has also been Oregon’s non-profit resource for documentary filmmakers, offering workshops to adults and kids, public events, and affordable access to equipment since 2003.
The team will launch a Kickstarter campaign April 21st to raise critical funds to finish the film and offer pre-sales of the DVD and other incentives. If you love compelling documentary stories and want to learn more about the work of this 501c3 non-profit, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or by signing up for their e-newsletter.
Oregon Film will join NW Documentary in the premiere of this intriguing tale of adventure and the search for lost history. We’ll look forward to sharing more as the story unfolds.
Here’s a few photos: