Over 700 entries were submitted this year for the 48th Northern California Area Emmy Awards, which took place on Saturday, June 8 at SF JAZZ. Water from the Wilderness, a documentary about San Francisco’s regional water system, received two Emmy nominations for the Cultural/Historical Documentary and Writing categories.
Although the film did not take home Emmy awards this time around, the filmmakers still felt like winners.
“We didn’t bring home a statue, but this scrappy, artistic, talented group of indie filmmakers was there hangin’ with the network big boys,”said Jim Yager, documentarian and producer of the film. “Both times they read our name out with the list of nominees, I felt so proud of all we accomplished with ‘Water from the Wilderness,’ a documentary about the history and value of our water infrastructure and the challenges we face in the era of climate change.”
The 60-minute film details the early history and controversy about the plan to bring much-needed drinking water to the Bay Area, and the continuing challenges now facing the region with climate change. The film traces the pioneering efforts of San Francisco leaders to create a reliable water supply for the City’s residents and the visionary planning of Michael O’Shaughnessy, who engineered the eponymous dam in the Hetch Hetchy Valley. In addition, the documentary highlights opposition to the project from famed naturalist John Muir, and the eventual creation of the SFPUC to oversee the regional system.
“The documentary was not sexy, easy to understand or glamorous, but the Academy took notice of its beauty and excellence. We get back to doing what we love tomorrow, because there’s more work to do!” said Yager.
The documentary is available for viewing on KQED Passport.