We caught up with Riverblue film Director David McIlvride, to talk in-depth about the source of much destruction on our global waterways, from textile and tannery manufacturing.
RiverBlue is a Canadian feature documentary focused on an around-the-world journey by river, culminating in one of the most ambitious river documentaries ever undertaken. Featuring internationally acclaimed river advocate Mark Angelo, who has quite possibly paddled more rivers in his lifetime than anyone else on this planet, Mark has sadly watched the decline of the rivers that he loves.
In the documentary, he and the film crew journey through some of the most pristine to the most devastated rivers- the result? The first real in-depth look at the source of much destruction on our global waterways, from textile and tannery manufacturing.
The RiverBlue team says that “the denim industry will serve as the worst-case scenario in the film, revealing the disturbing instances of how we can show such little regard for what nature has given us.
We caught up with RiverBlue Director David McIlvride, who has written, directed and produced some of the most respected documentary series’ on television for broadcasters such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and History Channel to ask a few questions about the documentary.
BF+DA: Did Mark discover the pollution while paddling? What drove him to have a focus on this?
DM: Mark Angelo has been a life-long river advocate, a passionate paddler who has traveled on more than a thousand rivers around the world. Having paddled globally for more than four decades Mark has sadly watched the decline of the rivers the world over and wanted to bring awareness to the issue in what he has called “his last paddle.”
Roger Williams, the Producer of RiverBlue had previously worked with Mark and approached Mark about documenting some of the rivers Mark had paddled on in the past and collectively making a global environmental documentary on rivers. Mark knew that his health was starting to limit his paddling ability, so he wanted to make one last global journey to see what state the world’s rivers are in today.
As far as discovering pollution while paddling, the answer to that is we (the production team) did a lot of research into the locations prior to traveling to the places we ended up filming in. What Mark did discover was often worse than we imagined, even with prior research. For example, we knew the tannery district in Hazaribagh (Bangladesh) was one of the world’s most polluted places (as done by a survey by the Blackwatch Institute) – but we didn’t realize how bad it was until we stepped out of the car and the smells hit you. It was so powerful (and terrible) the bad smells took your breath away. As Mark made his way through the tannery district, he found it disturbing how bad the chemical flow had basically killed the river and that at various times of the year, you could light the river on fire.