We reached out to our Jackson Wild Media Awards filmmakers to ask them five questions about the experience of making their films.
What inspired this story?
Director Alizé Carrère: In 2015 I was looking for a US-based story for my Adaptation film series. I think I literally googled ‘adaptation in America’ and came across a short local Kentucky news article about a Chinese-American woman who was helping Americans adapt to the invasive Asian carp crisis by creating a market for the fish. I didn’t even know we had an Asian carp crisis, but I quickly learned about it! I was so captivated by Angie’s story. Here was someone from another country who picked up her entire life and moved to a small town in the middle of rural America to start a business around something that Americans want nothing to do with. I sent her an email and we maintained an email exchange for 2 years. I kept promising her I would one day come and tell her story as a part of a film project I was working on once I raised the money. I finally showed up on her doorstep in 2018 with a film crew.
What impact do you hope this film/program will have?
AC: I think I speak for everyone who is a part of this film/story when I say that we hope it will inspire Americans to see the value of Asian carp. It’s a terribly misunderstood fish. What Angie and her business (Two Rivers Fisheries) are aiming to do is to “reduce, re-use and RE-DEFINE” carp. Rather than see it as a “trash fish”, we can learn how to use it as a resource. It’s an abundant protein source that can be harvested to address both the ecological degradation and economic hardship associated with its proliferation. As much as we would like to think that we can fully contain or eliminate them, it’s simply not going to happen. When Asian carp arrive somewhere, they are - for better or worse - there to stay. We need to focus our resources and energy on finding ways to manage their presence. We hope this film is a start in that direction.
Any fun facts about the film/program, the subject matter or the production crew that might surprise the audience?
AC: Silver carp, one of the four types of Asian carp, are the shiny ones that leap out of the water when they’re spooked by noises from motors (see the first scene of our short film). When a boater is cruising down a waterway at 20+ mph and one of those silver carp leap out, it can do serious damage. People have dislocated jaws and shoulders because of being hit by flying carp on a moving motorboat. Some fishermen are starting to install plexiglass shields on the front of their boats so they don’t get hit!