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by Indiewire
May 10, 2012 9:59 AM
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Project of the Day: 'Saving America's Wildest River' Los Angeles?

"Rock the Boat"

Here's your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

"Rock the Boat: Saving America's Wildest River"

Tweetable Logline:

An adventure story about Los Angeles and the little river that could. With cops in helicopters and civilians in kayaks.

Elevator Pitch:

Rock the Boat is a fun, fast-paced documentary about the Los Angeles River and the challenges society faces in providing clean water to urban populations (think Huckleberry Finn meets Chinatown). When satirical writer and avid kayaker George Wolfe organizes a boating trip to demand public access to the river, he and his motley crew become entangled in a national controversy surrounding the river’s “navigability” and consequent eligibility for Clean Water Act protection. With breathtaking images of the LA River, insightful interviews and a soft spot for humor, the film is a bright alternative to the current spate of doomsday documentaries.

Production Team:

Director/Producer: Thea Mercouffer
Producers: Heather Louise Parker, Michael Kuehnert, Randi Johnson
Director of Photography: Ian Campbell
Editors: Thea Mercouffer, Reinita Sussman, David Dobson
Composer: Mike Raznick

About the Production:

"When my husband said he wanted to kayak down the entire LA River, I laughed in his face: "What river? You mean that pathetic excuse of an open sewer? The cement scar that cuts the city in half? Won't you come out with three heads?" He went anyway, and took a whole crew with him, and I followed him with cameras, thinking he'd be arrested and I'd make a short about civil disobedience. Instead, I made a film about nature disobedience - the way, no matter what we do, that thing keeps prevailing and teaching us a lesson or two." -- Thea Mercouffer

Current Status:


For more information and to support this project:

Film Website
IndieGoGo Page

Be sure to check out our curated Kickstarter page for more information on projects we think you should check out.

If you have an in-the-works project and you'd like to be profiled in an upcoming iW Project of the Day column, submit yourself by filling out this form!


  • jeanne Kuntz | July 23, 2012 3:14 PMReply

    This movie is not just for environmentalist geeks (like me) or fitness nuts (like me) or for Native Angelenos (like me). It's for anyone who needed a reason to believe that we can heal our planets and our neighborhoods and have fun at the same time. Thank you for making this film!

  • Margaret Tippie | May 14, 2012 6:52 PMReply

    I also look forward to seeing the full documentary.

  • Chris | May 14, 2012 2:03 PMReply

    Very Interesting would enjoy seeing more...

  • Roger Stetter | May 13, 2012 12:22 PMReply

    I very much enjoyed the trailer for "Rock the River" and hope to see the full documentary.

  • Thea | May 14, 2012 12:37 AM

    Thanks Roger, we'll try to bring the film to every city and town in the country. Please sign up for our newsletter, so we can keep you posted. Los Angeles premiere coming in September.

  • Tommy | May 12, 2012 12:51 PMReply

    Looks really interesting!

  • Thea | May 14, 2012 12:39 AM

    Thanks, Tommy, hope we win Project of the Week and go on for greater and greater things as we prepare to launch the film. Hope you will join our mailing list -, so we can keep you posted.

  • Sal | May 11, 2012 10:46 PMReply

    Good luck Thea!

  • Thea | May 14, 2012 12:39 AM

    Thank you for your great support and friendship, Sal!

  • Thea | May 11, 2012 4:22 PMReply

    Thank you for selecting us - we're so thrilled! This is truly a story about the Little River that Could, and Rock the Boat is the little film that could. I'm so proud of it, and so happy to be this close to finishing it.