Backcountry Pictures and KQED present
California Forever, a two-part PBS television special that tells the story of California’s magnificent state parks from Yosemite in 1864 to the present day.
Additional photos available at cal4ever.com/press
Together, the two one-hour programs remind viewers of the importance of California’s state parks as well as their priceless legacy. California Forever is scheduled to air nationally in fall 2012 on PBS (check local listings) and in the Bay Area on KQED 9.
California Forever was written and directed by Academy Award-nominee David Vassar. The program was produced by Sally Kaplan and David Vassar. The idea for the film was sparked after David and Sally watched the battle between conservationists and developers over the proposed Orange County Toll Road which would have paved over a portion of San Onofre State Beach. David and Sally felt compelled to tell the story of California’s State Parks as a way to remind viewers of these parks and their value.
“The story of California State Parks is the story of California. It is also the story of the ‘park idea’ and how it spread from California across the country and around the world. The scenic beauty and historic sites that California State Parks protect celebrate our heritage, and helps define what it means to be a Californian,” said David Vassar. “In California Forever, we hope to encourage viewers to explore state parks in their neighborhoods and across California; to remind them of the priceless legacy that parks protect and to honor the individuals and groups who fought so hard to preserve them over the last 160 years.”
Websites & Social Media:
[direct links to: press page and program fact sheet (pdf)]
PBS website (launching end of August): pbs.org/californiaforever
Twitter: twitter.com/BackcountryPics (#cal4ever ; @backcountrypics)
Social Media Toolkit (pdf)
Social Media Contests (pdf)
Member Guide Article (pdf)
Gretchen Krueger, firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-914-0102
Jordana Heinke, email@example.com, 415-359-2313
Landis Communications, Inc.
To request an interview with David Vassar (PDF bio) or Sally Kaplan (PDF bio), receive a California Forever DVD or BluRay disc, high-resolution photography and/or additional info, please contact us. You may also visit the program website’s press page for more.
California Forever: The History of California State Parks highlights the discovery and creation of California’s state parks system and celebrates the individuals and groups whose passion and commitment helped preserve and protect them for future generations. It takes viewers on a scenic, cultural and historical tour of California’s state parks highlighting the people, key events and locales that made California history. The episode begins with the discovery of the giant sequoias in 1852 by Augustus T. Dowd and recounts the establishment of California’s first state park, Yosemite. Continuing, the narrative moves through the individual stories of citizen action that preserved many of California’s most celebrated landscapes as state parks. Included are the coast redwoods, Big Sur, Point Lobos, Hearst Castle, Lake Tahoe and the Anza-Borrego Desert. Historic places and people that commemorate crucial chapters of the California story are also explored. The plot intersects with many important victories that saved much of California’s most cherished landscape and in the process, inspired the creation of the National Park Service and the protection of wilderness.
California Forever: Parks for the Future presents the very real challenges that state parks are currently facing in California. Among these are habitat destruction by overuse; protection of native species at the expense of recreation; reclaiming industrial brown fields to create new parks in dense urban areas; establishing historic sites that commemorate people and events from diverse cultures; and imminent park closures. This episode highlights the trials of balancing peaceful solitude at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with the growing demand for “off-roading” at neighboring Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area. It then tells of the wildlife preservation efforts for the northern elephant seal and western snowy plover that sometimes limit public access along parts of the central coast. California Forever stresses the importance of reclaiming land for parks in urban settings including the “re-wilding” of the Los Angeles River. Additionally, it celebrates the diverse cultures and histories of many groups who made California home, including the Chinese who first arrived at the Angel Island Immigration Station and freed slaves who created a utopian agrarian community at what is now Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.
Quotes from Interviewees in the Documentary
“There are very few things in life that are able to span centuries. Are we going to be as courageous and as visionary as the people that have left these things for us, or are we in a moment of stress and economic issues, going to blink and potentially lose some of these things? It’s, it’s really sobering.” Ted Jackson, Former Deputy Director, California State Parks
“If we lose our state parks it would be the equivalent of losing all the great paintings of California. It’d be the equivalent of losing all the great poems that were written about California, all the great novels, all the great films, all the great architectural monuments. More importantly we lose our usable past. The past that defines the present and the future. We’ll become a people adrift. A people not knowing who they were, where they came from, what mistakes they made and what things they did right. We lose the essential premise of stewardship for our culture if we lose the state parks.” Kevin Starr, Author and Professor of History-University of Southern California, Librarian of California (emeritus)
“We often refer to standing in a coast redwood grove as being a cathedral-like experience because of their quiet, silent, solemn, beautiful nature. It’s very difficult not to come away with the sense of being in something that could very easily be considered a sacred or holy
place.” John Werminski, Master Interpreter, California State Parks
“You can’t have a developed society and culture without memory and our state parks preserve the memory. The memory of who we were naturally before, we even arrived. The memory of nature, and the memory of our social and cultural experience. We define ourselves as a people, an American people, now a global people. In part, in significant measure through our state parks.” Kevin Starr, Author and Professor of History-University of Southern California, Librarian of California (emeritus)
“We need these great natural areas to remind us this was once a great wilderness continent. And we need these storied places to remind us that we did great deeds and some shameful deeds and we protect both when we protect an original historic site.” Al Runte, Author and Professor of History
An Official Selection at the International Wildlife Film Festival, California Forever received the award for Best Educational Program in 2011. It also was selected for screenings at the 2011 American Conservation Film Festival, the 2012 Wild & Scenic Film Festival and the 2012 Environmental Film Festival of Washington, D.C.
California Forever was written and directed by Academy Award-nominee David Vassar. The program was produced by Sally Kaplan and David Vassar. In addition, the creative team includes Christopher Tufty, director of photography; Christian White, editor; Tony Humecke, composer; and Richard Doyle, narrator. The producers scouted more than 100 parks, and the Backcountry Pictures crew shot in 46 of them over a two-year period. The arresting visuals of California’s state parks were acquired at 4k resolution with a RED ONE digital camera.
Major funding for the PBS broadcast of California Forever is provided by Destination Cinema. With giant screen theaters in the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Hearst Castle, and Victoria, Canada, Destination Cinema provides people with an enhanced travel experience. Working with state and national parks, along with museums across the country and around the world, Destination Cinema creates opportunities for visitors to connect with extraordinary places. Additional support is provided by the Hoeffer Family Foundation and Active Network.
About Backcountry Pictures
Founded in 2001, Backcountry Pictures produces films, television programs and visual content for special venues that celebrate the beauty of nature and captures the history and culture of surrounding communities. The company excels in producing programs that impart a sense of wonder about the natural world inspiring viewers to establish their own personal bond with nature. To learn more about Backcountry Pictures, please visit backcountrypictures.com.
KQED (kqed.org) has served Northern California for more than 50 years and is affiliated with NPR and PBS. KQED owns and operates public television stations KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area), KQED Plus (San Jose/Bay Area) and KQET 25 (Watsonville/Monterey); KQED Public Radio (88.5 FM San Francisco); kqed.org and KQEDnews.org; and KQED Education. KQED Public Television, one of the most-watched public television stations in the country, is the producer/presenter national series such as Sound Track; California State of Mind; Richard Bangs: Quest for Wonder and Essential Pépin. KQED Public Radio is the most-listened-to public radio station in the nation and the most popular in the Bay Area. Visit www.kqed.org for more information.
PBS (pbs.org), with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 123 million people through television and more than 21 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children.