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* CLICK HERE for our Q&A with director Nils Cowan and Snoqualmie Tribal Member McKenna Sweet Dorman

SPAWNING GROUNDS is a documentary film that chronicles a critical season in the life of the near extinct Lake Sammamish Kokanee, a unique species of salmonid found nowhere else on the planet. The film follows key characters – advocates, as nearly a decade of grassroots conservation efforts build to what many hope will be the biggest Kokanee run in nearly a century. 

The film follows three main threads in bringing this large-scale story to life – the scientific work being done to better understand this unique fish species and to bring them back in ever greater numbers; the efforts being undertaken by local tribes and other advocates to communicate the cultural and historical importance of the Kokanee; and the development, planning and construction of a major restoration project along the historically critical spawning area of Zackuse Creek on the eastern edge of the lake. These stories culminate in the fall of 2018 as the winter run Kokanee return to their native streams along the lake to spawn.

Director's Bio:

Nils​ ​Cowan has​ ​worked​ ​as​ ​a​ ​writer,​ ​producer​ ​and​ ​director​ ​for​ ​more​ ​than​ ​fifteen​ ​years.​ ​A​ ​native​ ​of Calgary,​ ​Canada,​ ​he​​ ​moved​ ​to​ ​the​ ​thriving​ ​documentary​ ​market​ ​of​ ​Washington,​ ​DC,​ ​where​ ​he​ ​wrote​ ​and produced​ ​series​ ​and​ ​specials​ ​for​ ​National​ ​Geographic,​ ​​PBS​ ​and​ ​BET.​ ​Ten years ago, ​he​ ​moved​ ​back​ ​west​ ​to​ ​the growing​ ​production​ ​scene​ ​in​ ​Seattle,​ ​focusing​ ​on​ ​natural​ ​history,​ ​science​ ​and​ ​current​ ​affairs.​ ​He has​ ​since​ ​written​ ​and​ ​produced​ ​several​ ​award-winning​ ​documentary films​ ​and​​ ​shorts​ ​about subjects​ ​ranging​ ​from​ ​drug​ ​policy​ ​reform​ ​to​ ​radio​ ​astronomy,​ ​and​ ​from​ ​reproductive​ ​justice​ ​to urban​ ​art.

This film is sponsored by Anthony's at the Old Mill

  • Year
  • Runtime
    54 minutes
  • Language
    English, Lushootseed
  • Country
    United States
  • Premiere
    Oregon Premiere
  • Director
    Nils Cowan
  • Producer
    Nils Cowan
  • Cast
    McKenna Sweet Dorman, Jim Bower, Tawni Dalziel, Lois Sweet Dorman, David St. John, Wally Pereyra, Andy De Los Angeles
  • Cinematographer
    Marc Pingry
  • Editor
    Zoë Furlong
  • Animator
    Jeffrey Veregge, Morgan Veregge, Andrew Sobey
  • Sound Design
    David Gallander