A Fly Fishing Movie that Doesn't Suck

A new fly-fishing movie proves all angling films need not suck.

Fly Fishing Alaska

Justin Miller, Travis Rummel and Frank Smethurst search for troutzilla on Kamchatka's Sedanka river.    Photo: Ben Knight/Felt Soul Media

Fishing porn is, in my opinion, the least enjoyable kind. It doesn't offer the terrifying thrills of ski flicks or the comically self-aggrandizing monologues that mark many kayaking movies. (Google "Dream Result" for an example and then "Wet Dream Result" for a laugh-out-loud parody.) Rather, in fishing films, you're stuck with guys exhorting and ogling confused trout.

But now, along comes a movie that not only overcomes all Bassmaster stereotypes but also manages to cleverly tweak the adventure-filmmaking genre. Eastern Rises, a new feature (showing in festivals and available on DVD) by Ben Knight and Travis Rummel, of Telluride, Colorado–based Felt Soul Media, is the story of a search for rainbow trout in Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. The trip is complicated by four-inch mosquitoes, a drinking-and-boating accident, close encounters with a hungry bear, and an expedition member's hunt for a Russian version of Sasquatch. ("It is very strong and it kills its own kind," says a local expert.) The filmmaking isn't straightforward, either: Knight, the director, uses freeze-frame imagery, smart graphics, and occasional self-reflection (he shows himself clawing out his hair at the editing desk—how meta!) to add a refreshing level of dynamics. And the director's tricks make the heart of the film—boombox-size rainbows gulping dry flies imitating mice—that much more satisfying.

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