Bart Bonime, the director of fish at Patagonia, speaks to an audience at the Vogue Theatre, last Wednesday night. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Patagonia film speaks to importance of watersheds

It’s a film screening that went off rather swimmingly at the Vogue Theatre last week.

The Elk River Alliance held a showing of Finding Fontinalis, as a fundraiser for their river protection efforts.

“We feel that water literacy is essential knowledge for everyone,” said Lee-Anne Walker, executive director of the Elk River Alliance. “We monitor the health of Lizard Creek and Alexander Creek.”

The group held a film screening as a way of raising awareness about the importance of water system preservation.

The film, sponsored by Patagonia, follows the journey of four anglers as they explore rivers in Argentina in an effort to find a very special kind of brook trout.

The film follows Bart Bonime, the director of fish at Patagonia as he sets out to find a species of trout in the watersheds of the Lenga forests.

As the story unfolds, he finds the fish to be going blind from a parasite, and tells a much broader story about the intricacy and interconnectedness of aquatic life to their ecosystems.

“People need to be involved in conservation,” said Travis Lowe, the filmmaker. He says the project was created with the specific purpose of raising money for conservation.

“You need to get up and do something. You don’t necessarily need to lift logs or clean the river…the money will go to help people do that for you.”

Before the film screening Lowe presented the Elk River Alliance with a $500 cheque, which they intend to use to help fund studies of the Elk River and the effects of intensive catch and release fishing on the populations in the local water system.

“As a filmmaker I look to do one thing; tell a good story,” he said, explaining that the idea is not to promote brook trout in the Elk River, but to send a message as crystal clear as fresh water—the need to preserve it.

Lowe spoke about how much he adores the Elk River and the landscape and nature of the East Kootenays and urged the audience to consider how precious the water near their home is.

“We’ve subsequently found out about Patagonia’s World Trout Program,” said Walker, who was connected with Lowe through retailers with Patagonia. “I didn’t really know about it to be honest.”

The program provides grants, that the alliance now intends to apply for.

“It’s good to build a relationship with those people,” she said.

For more information on the Elk River Alliance, visit