Sound Rivers’ documentary premiered Nov. 30! 

On Nov. 30, Sound Rivers’ 40th-anniversary documentary premiered to a large virtual crowd. It was a spectacular success, from the opening slide show to a wonderful panel discussion with the stars of the show. Donations exceeded our wildest expectations: a total of $12,500 was raised — nearly $8,000 of that during the hour-long event.

“What an amazing night! I am so grateful to all those who helped make this possible. Thank you to the board for all the support — we estimate we had about 500 people watching. It was a grand recognition of all the hard work of the past 40-plus years. This will be a great film for us to continue to use and continue to share this powerful story,” said Sound Rivers Executive Director Heather Deck.


The film is introduced by Deck and Sound Rivers’ Board President JoSeth Bocook, and for the next 16 minutes, viewers are given a fast-paced, crash course on the organization and its work, from our humble beginnings as the Neuse River and Pamlico-Tar River foundations to achieving legislation to protect North Carolina waterways; from rallying with communities to fight for their clean water to taking on industrial polluters, as told by the voices of Sound Rivers — Riverkeepers, supporters, partners and experts — and set against a beautiful backdrop of the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico rivers. The hour-long event wrapped up with a panel discussion including  “A Sound River” filmmaker Rain Bennett and other stars of the documentary.

Bennett, a Durham resident and Washington native, said his goal was to inspire people of all ages.

“I hope to inspire action — specifically from the Millennial and Gen-Z generations. I am aiming at the hearts of younger eastern North Carolina locals to take up the fight Sound Rivers began four decades ago,” Bennett said. “I honestly had no idea all the work Sound Rivers had done over the past 40 years. In my preliminary research, I’ve become so aware of the challenges they face — and that we all face — and the importance of their mission.”

After several months of honing the narrative and recruiting storytellers and experts to provide background and the science behind issues, Bennett began filming in the spring of 2021 and wrapped up filming mid-August with some amazing aerial footage of Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell patrolling the Tar River.

“Seeing and hearing some of the stories from the people who have been there from the beginning, it’s clear that certain things remain constant: there will always be industries and facilities and regulations and interests threatening our waterways, but there will also always be those who care deeply for the river and their community, ready to stand up to these challenges,” Howell said.

The short film will soon be available to those who’d like to host their own screening.

“Our new goal is exposure — to get the film out there and get more people engaged with their rivers and the issues facing them, so we’ve put together a ‘screening in a box’ to make it super easy for people to share. The documentary may be about a serious subject, but that doesn’t mean your watch party can’t be fun,” Deck said.

Fun could be hosting a watch party combined with a local beer tasting (good beer needs clean water!) or serving farm-to-table appetizers (farmers all benefit from clean water). It could also include showing the film before a group outdoor adventure, such as a kayak outing or riverside hike.

“The great thing is that you can tailor the event to your group’s needs — for example, keeping it brief and just showing the documentary itself or watching the entire hour-long event,” Deck said.

Stayed tuned to learn how you can host your own screening of “A Sound River.”

Thank you, sponsors, for your generous support!