Electronic Press Kit:
POWER of the RIVER: Expedition to the Heart of Water in Bhutan
An adventure from the last Himalayan kingdom. Home to the world’s most ambitious commitment to protect nature, Bhutan faces urgent pressure to dam every river. A man named “Good Karma” guides an expedition to keep his country’s mightiest river free.
An all-Bhutanese river crew guides a first-ever flyfishing descent of a “top-10 wild and untouched river” (International Rafting Federation). Cultural encounters across this tiny Buddhist kingdom lead to exhilarating cinematography from prayer-flag mountain passes to rafts and kayaks navigating uncharted Class IV+ whitewater. The visiting international expedition team encounters a kingdom at a crossroads: hailed for conservation even as it faces pressure to dam every river.
Pursuing an endangered “fish of kings,” the anglers and their guides must strike a balance between bringing attention to the wildness of our planet—and loving it to death. The film is one of the first feature documentaries to embody #keepfishwet principles as it gives voice to the perspectives of Bhutan’s own hearts and minds, including Dasho Benji, the country’s “godfather of conservation.”
Grammy-winning music from Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn and an original score by Stefan Smulovitz lend fitting musical magic to the journey of a lifetime.
Reviews, Press Coverage, & Accolades
“A cinematic adventure into the heart of wilderness, Power of the River captures the connection between people and the rivers that are our lifeblood.” –Robert Redford
- Many more: click to view
Additional video content:
Click thumbnails below for use on the web and in social media plus links to high-resolution images for print.
Themes & Story Angles
- Exploration, culture, adventure, nature, cinematography, travel, sports, environment, ecology, humor, character.
- Endangered species, rivers, jungle, flyfishing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, Bhutan, Himalayas, India, Asia, Buddhism, family, dams, hydropower.
- Power of the River lends itself to numerous engaging angles for all media, such as:
- A truly independent film production and 9-year labor of love.
- An epic adventure into uncharted territory.
- An environmental message of hope: a joyful alternative to doom-and-gloom journalism.
- A cross-cultural encounter with the people of Bhutan and Northern India.
- Class IV+ whitewater kayaking and rafting on a “top-10 wild and untouched river” (IRF).
- Cutting-edge humane and ecologically sound flyfishing (barbless #keepfishwet catch-and-release) endorsed by the film’s science and conservation advisor, Andy Danylchuk, Ph.D.
- A musical journey: Stefan Smulovitz’s original score features native sounds he recorded on the trek.
- Calendar connections:
- 3/3/24 World Wildlife Day
- 3/14/24 Day of Action for Rivers
- 3/20/24 International Day of Happiness (from Bhutan’s concept of G.N.H., Gross National Happiness)
- 4/22/24 Earth Day
- 5/17/24 Endangered Species Day
- 5/18/24 World Fish Migration Day
- 5/22/24 UN Day for Biological Diversity
- 6/5/24 World Environment Day
- 9/24/24 World Rivers Day
• Expedition received permission from the government of Bhutan for a first-ever flyfishing descent on the Drangme River
• Entire crew of river guides and safety kayakers are Bhutanese
• Second-unit director Paco Penjore is a leader in his country’s film industry, having served as an executive with the Bhutan Film Association
• Theatrical version premiered in Bhutan’s capital of Thimpu April, 2018
• Misty Dhillon was raised in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India; he co-founded a lodge and guide service out of Jim Corbett National Park
• Misty’s protégé, Bobby Satpal, appears in the theatrical version of the film and caught an unofficial world-record golden mahseer (54 pounds) while the rest of the crew was filming in Bhutan
• Writer/Director/Producer Greg I. Hamilton graduated from Colorado College; moved to Steamboat from Boulder and Longmont; has lived in Colorado more than 30 years
• Motion designer Kevin Kerndt, colorist John Barcklay, and audio mixer Jason McDaniel all live in the Front Range along with associate producers Rogue Edwards and Chris Keig
PACIFIC NORTHWEST/WESTERN CANADA
• Featured angler Dave McCoy lives in West Seattle – the crew filmed with Dave and family in their home
• Writer/Director/Producer Greg I. Hamilton grew up in Eugene with composer Stefan Smulovitz and featured angler Dave McCoy
• Editor Jocelyne Chaput and composer Stefan Smulovitz called Vancouver, BC home during production of the film
• Expedition Leader Bryant Dunn calls Sun Valley home – the crew filmed with Bryant and family in their home
WASHINGTON DC METRO AREA
• Featured angler Misty Dhillon now calls Ellicott City, MD home
• Featured angler André Corpuz lives and works in New York City
• Editor Jocelyne Chaput calls Oakland home
Cast of Characters/Expedition Team
- Karma Tshering (Bhutanese Wilderness Expert) was born when there was no road across his country and TV broadcasts were not allowed. The man lovingly known as “Good Karma” works for Bhutan’s first river guiding operation; his zest for his country’s cultural and natural legacy provides a window into the Bhutan that once was—and that may yet survive. Bio | Video Clip
- Misty Dhillon (Expert on Target Species) was seduced in 1994 by the mighty Himalayan fish which he calls the Majestic Goddess. Born and raised in New Delhi, Misty is the world’s foremost authority on catch-and-release fly fishing for golden mahseer. He and his wife Aikta have initiated successful conservation efforts toward sustainable community-based angling tourism. Bio | Video Clip
- Bryant Dunn (Expedition Leader) – Bryant’s passion for exploration began in the rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula and now spans six continents and 50 countries. Hired in 2007 to assess the ‘fishability’ of Bhutan, Bryant pioneered some of the Himalayas’ most remote fishing destinations. Bio | Video Clip
- Dave McCoy (Conservationist and Flyfishing Guide) began his fish dreams on the iconic rivers of Oregon. After many years hooking steelhead, he took his guiding expertise overseas along with his lauded photography and die-hard conservation ethic. He now runs his own shop and guiding operation. Bio | Video Clip
- Jean-André Corpuz (Featured Angler, Globetrotting Adventurer) – “André” was raised in Paris and London, becoming fluent in five languages. He has circumnavigated the globe from Iceland to the Rocky Mountains to the Himalayas. In 1997 while motorcycling through Nepal, André decided to use his travel blog for good, quickly raising nearly $20,000 for a struggling orphanage. Bio | Video Clip
- Featuring Dasho Paljor J. Dorji “Dasho Benji” (Special Advisor, Bhutan Environment Commission) – He’s been called the godfather of conservation in Bhutan, a vocal and tireless champion of the environment since 1966. Benji is a self-professed rascal and “court jester” having served as friend and advisor to Bhutan’s Fourth Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) throughout a reign that included establishing the world’s most ambitious commitment to protect wilderness. Power of the River’s expedition team was honored to share a rousing talk with Dasho Benji on Bhutan’s challenges and opportunities—and the joys of fishing. Bio | Video Clip
Production & Creative Team
- Greg I. Hamilton (Writer/Director/Producer) wrote and co-directed The Movement: One Man Joins An Uprising which was a Grand Jury Award nominee at Sundance and selected for 20 other festivals, winning five awards (including Best Documentary at Breckenridge). Greg worked closely on the film’s release, helping it reach well over a million viewers through broadcast and cable TV, airline, festivals, and more. Greg has a passionate enthusiasm for big, exciting projects that genuinely move people. As a cultural anthropologist, he studies people: everything we do and particularly the things we do well. Greg believes in sharing stories that inspire us all to question assumptions of what’s possible—so we can be our very best at whatever turns us on. Bio | Headshot (hi-resolution)
Director’s Statement: “We journeyed to a magical place, onto a wild river, and into the unknown. We came back with an epic adventure story … and much more. As a filmmaker, I take seriously the obligations that come with the access we received to film a first-ever expedition on an at-risk river. It was a magnificent opportunity and now I am determined to share this important story as far and wide as possible.”
- Matthew Whalen (Director of Photography) has filmed for Warren Miller Entertainment plus documentary features, commercials, and television shows for ESPN, NBC Universal Sports, and the Outdoor Channel. His films focus on climate change, sustainability, education, and conservation. Bio
- Paco Penjore (Second Unit Camera) has worked on more than 20 feature films and shorts as director, writer, cameraman, and editor. He is a leader in his country’s nascent film industry, having served as an executive with the Bhutan Film Association. Bio
- Jocelyne Chaput (Editor) co-edited Fire of Love, a 2022 Sundance Film Festival winner of the Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award and nominee for the Grand Jury Prize. Jocelyne also edited Fractured Land, a top-10 audience favorite at Hot Docs 2015 and co-edited People of a Feather, nominated for Best Feature Documentary at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards. Both the latter films were celebrated for capturing turbulent human stories where the pull of tradition clashes with the demands of modernity. Jocelyne’s work reflects her love of wilderness and her passion for great stories. Bio
- Stefan Smulovitz (Original Score Composer) has composed and performed more than 70 live film scores. Commissioned by the Vancouver Symphony and others, Stefan is known both for his original compositions as well as his collaborative works for theatre and dance. Bio
- Andy Danylchuk, Ph.D. (Associate Producer: Science and Conservation) received a distinguished teaching award at UMass Amherst and is pioneering a cross-disciplinary college program at the convergence of science, business, and media. Bio
Release Date & Technical Details
- Worldwide release (56 minute version) January 8, 2023 on Rocky Mountain PBS
- Theatrical version (74 minutes) premiered at eight festivals:
- WINNER: Best Feature from a Colorado Filmmaker, DocuWest International Film Festival
- 4X NOMINEE: Maverick Movie Awards – Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Cinematography
- 40th Annual International Wildlife Film Festival
- 25th Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital
- 36th Annual Breckenridge Film Festival
- Bansko Mountain Film Festival
- Lone Star Film Festival
- Colorado Environmental Film Festival
- Filmed in full HD up to 4K; presented in 2.35 aspect ratio (Cinemascope)
- 5.1 Surround Sound (Theatrical version) or Stereo mix (Worldwide release)
- Closed captions
- Language: English, Dzongkha (subtitled)
- Appropriate for all audiences and ages; see Parental Guide (for theatrical version only; includes spoilers)
ALL GET OUT PRODUCTIONS presents a film by Greg I. Hamilton POWER OF THE RIVER
featuring Karma Tshering, Misty Dhillon, Bryant Dunn, Dave McCoy, Jean-André Corpuz, Chencho Drukpa, Thinley Namgay, Arjun Lungeli, Passang Tamang, Karma Galleg, Hari Chhetri, Pem Tsering, with Dasho Paljor J. Dorji “Dasho Benji”
From time immemorial the Drangme Chhu has carried glacial waters from the highest peaks on Earth through Bhutan’s valleys and jungles …
Through two reigns of Bhutan’s Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King), the river has remained wild and free despite multiple attempts to dam her …
“Being a Bhutanese people, we always respect the river, since it’s one of the goddesses, as we believe.” – Chencho Drukpa, our lead kayaker
POWER OF THE RIVER
in memoriam: Ugyen “Yougs” Dorji (1962 – 2018), Dhan Bahadur Kami “Dhan San” (1983 – 2015)
written, directed, and produced by Greg I. Hamilton
director of photography Matthew Whalen
editor Jocelyne Chaput
original score composed by Stefan Smulovitz
featuring Karma Tshering, Misty Dhillon, Bryant Dunn, Dave McCoy, Jean-André Corpuz, Chencho Drukpa, Thinley Namgay, Arjun Lungeli. Passang Tamang, Karma Galleg, Hari Chhetri. Pem Tsering, and Dasho Paljor J. Dorji “Dasho Benji”
also featuring Khandu “Dema” Wangmo, Aikta Suri Dhillon, Debby Dunn, Natalie McCoy
with Kenley Gyeltsen Tshering, Kuenley Tobgyel Tshering, Dorji Wangdi, Yangden, Karma Dorji, Madeline Dunn, Daker Dunn, Hunter Dunn, Nessa McCoy, Ritish Suri, Bobby Satpal, Pritam Singh Pundir
expedition guides & outfitters Xplore Bhutan, Emerald Waters Anglers, The Himalayan Outback, Sun Valley Outfitters Global Adventures
additional Xplore Bhutan crew Kinley Dorji, Wangchuk Rabgye, Dhan Bahadur Kami “Dhan San”, Tshedup Tobgay, Lekey Tshewang, Kencho Wangmo, Sonam Yangzom, Nado
second unit camerawork Tshering “Paco” Penjore
additional camerawork Jean-André Corpuz, Andy Danylchuk, Greg I. Hamilton, Dave McCoy
location sound recording Stefan Smulovitz
motion designer Kevin Kerndt
color correction and mastering John Barcklay
sound design Jocelyne Chaput
audio mix Jason McDaniel
fundraising demo editor Scott McElroy
associate producers Andy Danylchuk, Chris Keig, Rogue Edwards
legal counsel Mike Ambroziak
accountant Emily Becker
fiscal sponsorship provided by The International Documentary Association
special thanks Cedar Beauregard, Bhutan Foundation, Eugene Buchanan, Dr. Bruce Bunting, Ugyen D. “Yougs” Dorji, Iain Grant, Jack & Pat Hamilton, Thomas Kelly, Jennie Lay, Julie Mack, Vance Martin, Eric Meyer, M.D., Noelle Panepento, Al Perkinson, Robert Redford, River Guides of Panbang, Fred Roberts, Randy Rudasics, Kim & Kelly Ryan, Mike Sakas, Mickey Sidhu, Bitapi Sinha, Sandy Watchie Stamato, Carissa Stolting, Erik Summers, Peter Vandergrift, Tshewang Wangchuk, Nathan Ward, Tshering Yangzom, Kezia Zuber
“Mahseer, 119 lbs” reproduced with kind permission of the Bombay Natural History Society
“What’cha Gonna Do” written by Béla Fleck, performed by Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, courtesy Rounder Records, a division of Concord Music Group, Inc.
filmed on location in the Kingdom of Bhutan
copyright 2022 All Get Out Productions, LLC