It’s a newly digitized glimpse of a family rafting adventure on the mighty Fraser River filmed back in 1978.
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is rereleasing the 27-minute film, Family Down the Fraser, for free on its streaming platform NFB.ca.
The film follows Richard and Rochelle Wright and their two sons as they navigate the river in a large whitewater raft more than 40 years ago.
Filmmaker Richard Wright, now living in Kamloops, had been unaware the NFB was going to rerelease the film – or restore it.
“I guess I am now old enough that a film I was involved in has been ‘restored,’” Wright joked in an email responding to the story after it first went online.
The cinematographer, Dave Geddes, who captured the action on film became a leading camera operator and director in Hollywood, Wright said.
Following the film on the Fraser, the Wrights actually launched a river outfitting company of their own. Their son Richard became a river guide, and son Raven, was a cowboy for a few years.
“I continued writing and did write a book on the Overlanders published in 1984,” Wright noted. He made several films, freelanced for CBC, and more recently has been producing short films for organizations like New Pathways to Gold.
Wright’s films that can be found on Vimeo, including their latest, Long Road to Cariboo, which nabbed several festival awards.
The film restoration initiative was under the auspices of the NFB’s English collection curator, Camilo Martín-Flórez.
“The film has recently been restored and digitized from the NFB’s vault near Montreal as part of an initiative putting out more NFB collection films from the West of Canada,” according to a recent NFB release.
The original river film was directed by Tony Westman.
In the film, Family Down the Fraser, the Wrights travelled from Cache Tête Jaune, near Valemont, B.C. and the Alberta border, down to parts of the Lower Fraser.
On the trip they meet characters whose lifestyles contrasted sharply with theirs, and they passed milestones like Fort Alexandria and Hell’s Gate.
Family Down the Fraser is online at www.nfb.ca/film/family_down_the_fraser
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