Screenshot from the film.

Over the past year and change, Shane Anderson’s award-winning Eel River documentary A River’s Last Chance has toured the world, screening at more than 20 film festivals, airing on five PBS stations, and being shown in school classrooms. 

The movie’s North Coast premier, held at the Eureka Theater about a year ago, attracted close to 800 people.

The hour-long documentary, which Anderson describes as “a cautionary tale rooted in repeated cycles of booms and busts,” is now available online through Amazon Prime (free if you’re a Prime member) and Vimeo On Demand (to rent for $3.99). 

In voice-over narration at the beginning of the film, which features stunning cinematography throughout, Anderson describes his fascination with the Eel and its painful history of resource extraction, from the systemic logging of ancient redwoods in its basin to the extraction of its native salmon populations and diversion of its waters to irrigate wine grapes and marijuana farms.

While the river has been left “a shadow of its former self,” the film also covers the Eel’s inspiring comeback story. The river “is now one of the best hopes for wild salmon recovery on the West Coast, with one of the last genetic races free from hatchery influence,” Anderson says in the film.

He tells the Outpost that he’s hoping to do more projects in this part of the country. Until then, check out the trailer below, or click one of the links above to access the full movie.

A River’s Last Chance from North Fork Studios on Vimeo.