Filmmakers Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith approach man-made river destruction through the eyes of one fly-fisherman.

Ryan Peterson in search of Steelhead. Photo by Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith

Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith film Ryan Peterson’s hunt for the elusive steelhead salmon in its traditional spawning grounds.

California’s streams and rivers used to be known for huge steelhead salmon runs–legendary, even–yet, now it’s almost impossible to find them.

“Steelhead are called the fish of a thousand casts,” Peterson says, “but that’s kind of an outdated thing. That’s what it was forty years ago. Now it’s the fish of ten or twenty-thousand casts.”

Can one short film or series really make a difference?

Cahall, Smith, and the film’s sponsors almost certainly hope so. Short documentaries like this one are a unique platform for change. Short films don’t have the status of big-budget features, but what they do have is viral potential. A five minute internet video can flicker in front of thousands or even millions of eyes, depending on the story, the beauty of the cinematography, or the content.

It’s not the size of the documentary, it’s how you use it.

Video created by Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith