News Column

Albuquerque Journal, N.M., Reel N.M. column

October 13, 2013


Oct. 13--Roger Rapoport has always been drawn to good stories. In fact, Rapoport and his former business partner Richard Harris were the two who edited Steven Faulkner's "Waterwalk: A Passage of Ghosts" back in 2007.

It wasn't until 2010 that the duo decided to write a screenplay for the film version.

"What we both liked about it was that the story is purely a father/son bonding story," he says. "The father and the son were attempting to travel on a journey and they were very naive. Through the journey, they learned so much about each other."

"Waterwalk" will be presented at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14. The event will also be a way to honor Harris, who died in late 2011. Along with editing books, Harris also was a travel writer based out of Santa Fe.

"Waterwalk" follows newspaper editor Steve Faulkner, who gets laid off. His 17-year-old son Justin easily could have stepped aside and watched his dad frantically search for another job. Instead he persuades his workaholic dad to join him on the trip of a lifetime -- a 1,000-mile canoe journey retracing the Marquette/Joliet discovery route of the Mississippi.

Together they travel along Lake Michigan's northern shore, through Green Bay, up the Fox, down the Wisconsin and finally the mighty Mississippi. The movie stars Robert Ciccini and Chase Maser.

"This is a route that has never been captured on film before," Rapoport says. "It was very intense to shoot because we shot it over the course of two years and we filmed it on the river."

Rapoport says the two men have to brave rough water, big storms, flood stage rivers and portaging larger sections of the heavily dammed Fox.

The pair nearly run out of money, become minor celebrities and confront the ultimate challenge presented to fathers who leave their jobs to spend more time with their children -- boredom. Paddling hour after hour they discover that they don't read the same books, watch the same movies and television shows or even know the same songs. Trying to kill time they end up singing the only music they both know, Christmas carols in July.

"It's about taking a step back and actually seeing what's in front of you," Rapoport says. "We get so busy with life that it takes only a second to take that step back."

He says filming took place in and around Michigan because of the story. He says like the pair of men in the film, he was also guilty of being naive.

"As filmmakers, we had our own journey," he says. "Hollywood doesn't make movies on the water because of safety issues. We figured that out quickly. We didn't have stunt men doing the scenes and had to be really careful with everyone's safety. It became all about logistics."

Crews shot in 35 towns along the river route. The movie was filmed over the summers in 2010 and 2011.

"Filming became a little difficult because for two years, we had to bring the cast and crew back together," he says. "We lucked out on the scheduling with that."

Rapoport says he always wanted to show the film in Santa Fe for Harris' friends and the time was right since the movie was finished. There will be a short talk before the screening and then a Q&A with Rapoport after the screening.

"Richard touched a lot of lives and he was a superb editor and did a great job editing this book," he says. "It was a book he really loved and it was close to his heart. Without his participation, it would have been difficult and the story isn't an easy one to tell."


The PBS Arts Fall Festival returns this month with seven weekly programs that highlight Broadway classics, music from around the country and legendary superstar Barbra Streisand. Hosted by award-winning television, film and stage star Anna Deavere Smith, the festival highlights PBS' ongoing commitment to giving audiences a front-row seat and a backstage pass to the best of the arts on-air and online.

Here's the schedule:

9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 -- "Great Performances -- 40th Anniversary Celebration"

9:30 p.m. Oct. 25 -- "A Raising in the Sun Revisited"

9:30 p.m. Nov. 1 -- "Moby Dick from San Francisco Opera"

9:30 p.m. Nov. 8 -- "Stephen Sondheim's Company with the New York Philharmonic"

9:30 p.m. Nov. 15 -- "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!"

9:30 p.m. Nov. 22 -- "Nashville 2.0"

8 p.m. Nov. 29 -- "Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn"


If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email Follow me on Twitter @ agomezART.


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