A film about the NORTH AMERICAN WEST
A musical tribute to LAND and WATER
A cautionary tale about the ENVIRONMENT


The Colorado is a feature documentary that is both narrated and sung, a live performance, and a comprehensive educational resource. It explores the Colorado River Basin from a holistic perspective and places the ecological predicaments of the region in a rich social and historical context.

The Colorado River has carved some of the most majestic landscapes on the planet for five million years, and its delta as a lush wetland is within living memory. Today, with a booming agricultural industry to support and nearly forty million people in a half-dozen major cities dependent on its waters, the Colorado is overused, over-promised, and unable even to reach its delta.

We believe that effective stewardship of land and water begins with love and knowledge and continues with dedicated activism. The Colorado is designed to inspire the love, instill the knowledge, and encourage the activism.

Narrated by the Oscar-nominee Mark Rylance, composed by five critically-acclaimed composers and sung by the Grammy-laureate vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, The Colorado explores topics ranging from the prehistoric settlements of the region to the current plight of the river’s delta region. Other sections cover crucial facets of the river’s history, such as the period of European exploration, the dam-building era and its legacy, industrial agriculture and immigration, as well as the impact of climate change on the region.

A comprehensive educational resource, corresponding section by section to the film, accompanies The Colorado and offers the public the opportunity to explore any of the topics addressed in the film in greater depth. 

The mission of The Colorado is to create a crossroads between art, ecology and regional history, while sensitizing audiences to pressing issues of our times.

The Colorado is intended to be the first in a series of multi-media projects, cultivating a layered understanding of different regions, towards a better stewardship of resources.










Mark was born in England in 1960 and emigrated, obviously with his family, to America in 1962. He lived in Connecticut until 1969 and then moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he lived until returning to London in 1978. Mark trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (1978-1980) under Hugh Cruttwell, and The Glasgow Citizens Theatre gave him his first job in 1980, a year in repertoire, a trip to the carnival in Venice with Goldoni, and an Equity Card. Mark recently finished filming with Steven Spielberg as the lead actor in The BFG. His most recent work includes We Are Many directed by Amir Amirani. He is heard as Flop in Bing Bunny for the BBC. He appears with Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg’s Cold War thriller, Bridge of Spies (Fall, 2015). Earlier in 2015, Mark returned to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, playing at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse as King Philippe V in Farinelli and the King by Claire van Kampen, a production in which he will again play the King at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End in the fall. Wolf Hall, directed by Peter Kosminsky, aired on PBS in the US during spring 2015, having been broadcast on BBC 2 in the UK earlier in the year. Mark has acted in theatre since 1980 and he was the Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre from 1996 to 2006. During his career he has acted in over 50 productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

Photo: Steve Pyke


Script And General Advisor

Writer and conservationist William deBuys is the author of seven highly acclaimed books, including Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California (UNM Press, 1999), which won the Western States Book Award and several other prizes. DeBuys has long been active in environmental affairs. From 1982 to 1986 he directed the North Carolina Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and from the late 1980s through the 1990s he represented The Conservation Fund in the Southwest. His efforts have led to the permanent protection of over 150,000 acres of wild lands in North Carolina and the Southwest. From 1997 to 2004 he developed and directed the Valle Grande Grass Bank, a cooperative effort involving ranchers, conservationists, and public agencies in the rehabilitation of rangelands in northern New Mexico. In 2000 the effort earned the National Range Management Award of the U.S. Forest Service. From 2001 to 2004, under appointment by President William Clinton, he served as founding chairman of the Valles Caldera Trust, which administers the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve under an experimental approach to the management of public lands. He was named a Lyndhurst Fellow for 1986-1988, a Carl and Florence King Fellow at SMU in 1999-2000, and a Guggenheim Fellow in 2008-200.



Called “one of the most original musical thinkers of the new century” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), John Luther Adams is a composer whose life and work are deeply rooted in the natural world. A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in Music (2014) and Heinz Award for his contributions to raising environmental awareness, Adams has also been honored with the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University “for melding the physical and musical worlds into a unique artistic vision that transcends stylistic boundaries.” JLA’s music is heard regularly all over the world. The Chicago Symphony, the Radio Netherlands Philharmonic, and the Melbourne Symphony have performed his Dark Waves for large orchestra and electronic sounds. Inuksuit for up to ninety-nine percussionists has been performed in New York City’s Morningside Park and at the Park Avenue Armory, as well as many other outdoor venues throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Born in 1953, Adams grew up in the South and in the suburbs of New York City. He studied composition with James Tenney and Leonard Stein at the California Institute of the Arts, where he was in the first graduating class (in 1973). In the mid-1970s he became active in the campaign for the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and subsequently served as executive director of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.




Founded in 2009 by Brad Wells, Roomful of Teeth is a vocal project dedicated to mining the expressive potential of the human voice. Through study with masters from non-classical traditions the world over, the eight voice ensemble continually expands its vocabulary of singing techniques and, through an on-going commissioning project, invites today’s brightest composers to create a repertoire without borders. The ensemble gathers annually at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), where they’ve studied Tuvan throat singing, yodeling, belting, Inuit throat singing, Korean P’ansori, Georgian singing and Sardinian cantu a tenorestyles with some of the world’s top performers and teachers of the styles. At the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards, the ensemble’s debut album Roomful of Teeth won in the category of the “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance. The New York Timescalled it “sensually stunning.” Included on many Best of 2012 lists, topping the classical charts on iTunes  and Amazon, even breaking into the top 10 on the Billboard  charts, the album was deemed “fiercely beautiful and bravely, utterly exposed” (NPR). In April 2013, ensemble member Caroline Shaw received the Pulitzer Prize in Music for Partita, the four movements of which appear on the debut album.



Named by NPR as one of the Top 100 composers in the world under 40, Paola Prestini is a composer and director and co-founder of VisionIntoArt, an interdisciplinary collective that has created over 50 multimedia productions worldwide. The New York Times has called VisionIntoArt “always intriguing and frequently beguiling...” and has praised Prestini’s compositions as “radiant [and] emotionally evocative.” Her music has been performed by such ensembles as The New York City Opera, Ensemble ACJW, the Claremont Trio, and the Kronos Quartet in venues including Carnegie Hall, The Whitney Live, and Joe's Pub. She has received commissions from the Concert Artists Guild and Carnegie Hall, among other organizations. Prestini’s music has also been featured at international festivals such as Etna Fest and Concerti Aperitivi in Italy and BEMUS in Serbia. Her co-production of 21c Liederabend was voted one of the top 10 classical concerts of the year in 2009 by Time Out New York. Ms. Prestini has written music and directed at such festivals as BAM's Planet XX festival and the Whitney Museum Resonant Spaces festival. She is also the Creative Director for Original Music Workshop, a Brooklyn-based venue slated to open in 2014.



William Brittelle is a Brooklyn-based composer of pop-influenced electro- acoustic art music and orchestral music, and a co-founder of New Amsterdam Records. His compositions have been presented across North America, including performances by the Seattle Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, and in Seattle’s Icebreaker Festival (curated by Alex Ross and Kyle Gann), the Festival Internacional in Chihuahua, Mexico, BAM’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Festival, the Switchboard Music Festival in San Francisco, New Music New College in Sarasota, Florida, and in many other festivals and venues in New York City. His recent albums Loving the Chambered Nautilus and Television Landscape have been widely praised by critics in outlets such as All Things Considered, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. As Classical TV stated: “William Brittelle is creating a body of work that has no precedent, and marks him as a one of the most promising heirs of the vital American maverick tradition.”




Described by The New York Times as “excellent”, Jeffrey Zeigler was the cellist of the Kronos Quartet for eight seasons. As the cellist of one of the most celebrated ensembles of our time, Zeigler has performed over a thousand concerts worldwide, has premiered over 200 works and has collaborated with many of the world's most innovative composers and performers. Zeigler has been the recipient of the Avery Fischer Prize, the Polar Music Prize, and the Chamber Music America Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award among others. Notable premiers and commissions include projects with John Coolidge Adams, Laurie Anderson, Noam Chomsky, John Corigliano, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Bryce Dessner, Philip Glass, Henryk Gorecki, Hauschka, Glenn Kotche, David Krakauer, Paola Prestini, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Tom Waits and John Zorn. Mr. Zeigler has appeared as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony and the Royal Danish Radio Symphony and has performed under the batons of Seiji Ozawa, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Roger Norrington, Mstislav Rostropovich and Peter Oundjian. Mr. Zeigler has released over two dozen recordings for Nonesuch Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Cantaloupe, Smithsonian Folkways and Blue Note Records. Jeffrey Zeigler holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music where he was a student of Stephen Doane, and a Master of Music degree from Rice University where he served as the Teaching Assistant for Paul Katz. He then continued his studies at Indiana University under Janos Starker.



Murat started photography as an apprentice to Josephine Powell in Istanbul. After attending the Academy of Fine Arts, School of Photography (Istanbul), he transferred to Bennington College, Vermont. He lived in Paris and returned to New York to pursue studies in music history. His dissertation was on the utopian aspects of Gustav Mahler’s works. Since 2000 he has focused mainly on portraiture and collaborative projects. In 2007, he also started working in film. He participated in the documentary Claude Lévi-Strauss: Return to the Amazon as assistant director. His photographs have been published by the French edition of the National Geographic Magazine and his music videos have been released by Asthmatic Kitty Records and New Amsterdam Records. He lives in New York City.


Composer, Percussion

Chicago-based percussionist and composer Glenn Kotche has been called one of the most exciting, creative and promising composers and performers in modern music, receiving international attention for his "unfailing taste, technique and discipline" (Chicago Tribune). In addition to his own solo records—including the 2006 album Mobile (Nonesuch Records)—Kotche has also written pieces for world-renowned ensembles including Kronos Quartet, The Silk Road Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, So Percussion and Eighth Blackbird. His compositions have been performed at venues as wide-ranging as Chicagoland's Ravinia, Carnegie's Zankel Hall and Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in New York and Teatro Castro Alves in Salvador, Brazil. In addition to his work as a composer and solo percussionist, Kotche is a member of the groundbreaking American rock band Wilco, with whom he has played since 2001. In 2010, Kotche and his Wilco bandmates started their own music festival, Solid Sound, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). Kotche contributed a permanent sound installation to the museum's collection, created for the 2011 festival. Beyond Wilco, Kotche records and performs regularly along with Darin Gray in the longtime rhythm duo On Fillmore. Together they have released four records, the most recent being Extended Vacation (Dead Oceans). He is also a member of the trio Loose Fur, along with Jim O’Rourke and Jeff Tweedy, who have just recorded their third studio record. A frequent collaborator, Kotche has appeared on over 90 records to date.



Education Advisor

Michael Preston has developed, implemented, and studied learning technologies for more than a decade. In his current capacity as the Director of Blended Learning Strategy, Office of Postsecondary Readiness at New York City Department of Education, Preston works to bring online and blended learning to students in transfer schools and beyond, to embed digital literacies and skills in a college and career readiness framework, and to support school-based experiments and innovations. Previously, he worked at the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), an instructional technology research and development organization within Columbia University, where he led teams that created multimedia analysis and communication tools. He has taught courses in psychology and education at Teachers College and developed technology programs at New Visions for Public Schools. Michael received a Ph.D. in Cognitive Studies in Education from Teachers College, where his dissertation research focused on developing undergraduate students’ critical thinking skills through online video analysis and argumentation. He studied Japanese history and literature at Harvard University and completed a year of study at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan.



Worden has performed and released three critically-acclaimed albums under the experimental-pop moniker My Brightest Diamond in the last seven years. She has also collaborated with Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner (TheNational), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), David Byrne, and with visual artists such as Matthew Ritchie and Matthew Barney. She has performed across the world in venues that include the Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center and House of Blues. Worden has been called “a creative chameleon with endless wells of technical skill...[with] one of the most astounding voices in all of indie rock” (Pitchfork). Having recently moved to urban Detroit, Worden’s latest offering, All Things Will Unwind draws inspiration from the Motor City itself.



Sylvestre, one of the world’s most accomplished and daring documentary directors and photographers, specializes in docu-dramas, extreme adventure and cultural films. Recently, he claimed two Emmy Awards for his work on the reality series Amazing Race. He directed the feature film Extremo Sul, a film about climbers in Chile’s Patagonia region, earning the Gran Premio Máximo award of Italy’s 2005 Trento Film Festival. He was also awarded the Brazilian Association for Cinematography prize for best director of photography for commercials in 2005. From age 11 to 18, he sailed around the world with his family, while he and his father produced a documentary of their adventures for German TV. After his graduation in 1988 from the Rhode Island School of Design, Campe directed and shot his first film climbing the Lhotse Shar, one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas. Since then, he has photographed or directed documentaries from every corner of the globe.




David is a Chicago-based editor and has worked in television production for over ten years. The scope of his work covers a broad range of productions, including broadcast television, music videos, and internet programs. Highlights of David’s freelance career include working for Kurtis Productions where he cut several episodes of American Greed and Crime Inc., two documentary series airing on CNBC. His previous work also includes editing four episodes of Titans, a documentary series airing on CNBC, profiling subjects including Ted Turner, Procter and Gamble, Jack Daniels, and Lee Iacocca. David has also edited programs for Thea Flaum Productions, where he cut twenty-six episodes of From Junky to Funky (a home remodeling show on the DIY network) and Anderson Productions, completing six episodes of the Emmy-winning series, CPS Right Now! David and Murat have been collaborating on music videos and internet programs since 2007.



Christa Sadler is an educator, author, geologist and guide from Flagstaff, Arizona. She received her bachelor's degree in Physical Anthropology and Archeology from the University of California at Berkeley, and her master's degree in Earth Sciences from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Christa has worked since 1986 as a river and wilderness guide, educator and naturalist throughout the American Southwest, Alaska and Baja California. She has been part of research expeditions to Mongolia, Montana and the Galapagos Islands, and has taught introductory geology and paleontology at Northern Arizona University and Coconino Community College in Flagstaff and Prescott College, in Prescott, Arizona. She works as an instructor for the Grand Canyon Field Institute, and runs geology programs for park service personnel at Grand Canyon National Park. She also owns and operates This Earth (, a program that brings Earth science education to primary and secondary aged students around the United States. Christa is the founder of One New Education (, a non-profit foundation that provides scholarship money for girls in developing countries to attend school. 


Associate Producer, Via

Natalia is a writer, producer, and filmmaker. She has been regularly published in Time Out New York, as well as other publications about culture in NYC. She also writes and edits a blog detailing interesting CSR campaigns around the world for More Partnerships. Within the theatre world, she worked as Assistant to the Director under Jonathan Bank at the Mint Theatre, and in the development department of the National Theatre of Ireland, The Abbey Theatre, while living in Dublin. In the film sphere, Natalia has worked on over thirty short films, six of which she produced. She also worked on “Supporting Characters”, an independent film that premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2012, and in television on The Dr. OZ Show. Natalia grew up acting, and was recently featured in Fusion Film Festival winner “Simply Remember” by DK Dennison. She will be appearing in upcoming short “The Lost Daughters”, which she will be directing based off a feature she has written. Natalia is also an Associate Developer at More Partnerships, a boutique agency that develops partnerships between brands, causes and artists, where she has helped produce the Global Citizen Festival since 2013, and The Stella Artois Chalice Symphony with The Cold War Kids which was released in February 2014.



Managing Director, Via

Courtenay Casey joined VisionIntoArt as its Managing Director in December 2012 after working as a Concerts and Attractions Agent for Michael Moore Agency for two years. Prior to being a theatre/design agent, Mrs. Casey was the Associate Manager for Artistic Planning with the New York Philharmonic. In this role, she was responsible for the success of several critically acclaimed productions, including Le Grand Macabre featuring Giants Are Small design and direction, Sondheim’s Birthday concert featuring an all star cast including David Hyde Pierce, Elaine Stritch, Patti LuPone and others, My Fair Lady featuring Kelsey Grammer and Kelli O’Hara, and several fundraising concerts under the musical direction of Marvin Hamlisch, Lorin Maazel and Alan Gilbert. Mrs. Casey was also a key member in the organization and success of CONTACT’s premiere series- a new music series produced by the New York Philharmonic. Trained as a classical singer at the University of Michigan and New England Conservatory, she began her work in arts administration at Opera Boston, where she started their Education Outreach Program in 2002.  Currently, she is on the Board of Directors with Chelsea Opera and Art Song Preservation Society of New York and is an Emerging Leaders of New York Arts Fellow. She is pursuing her Certificate in Arts Administration from New York University.


Graphic Designer

Founder & design director at Frint Incorporated, Adam has a rich history in packaging, print and production for the entertainment (movie, music and gaming) industry, working with many great clients including the Sony Group, Walt Disney Studios, EMI Music, HBO, and Warner Home Video. He currently does brand development for Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Adam is also a photographer, working with a large format camera in rural and urban settings. He lives in Chicago.





Producer VISIONINTOART is a multimedia production company that creates interdisciplinary works stemming from new music. VIA believes that collaboration sustains artistic innovation. Since Paola Prestini co-founded the company in 1999 at the Julliard School, VIA has created and performed over fifty original works. VIA's works have been seen at Lincoln Center, Joe's Pub, Symphony Space, and the Whitney Museum. VIA's works have toured to colleges and universities in the US, and to international festivals such as Apertif in Concerto at Teatro Manzoni, Etna Fest in Italy, and BEMUS in Belgrade, Serbia. Support for VIA comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, Cary Trust for New Music, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the New York State Council on the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, American Music Center, ASCAP, the BMI Fund, the Kenan Institute, Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Video Resources, and the Council on Foundations and individual donors.



In association with New Amsterdam Presents 



New Amsterdam Presents is an artists' service organization that supports the public's engagement with new music by composers and performers whose work grows from the fertile ground between genres. New Amsterdam places this music in the public eye through the presentation of festivals, series, tours, and other live events that bring together artists who embody this spirit of openness, grounded in musical traditions of depth and substance, forging new ties between formerly disparate musical languages and approaches to music-making. New Amsterdam Presents also continues to hold New Amsterdam Records as a fully-taxable subsidiary organization, offering recordings of new classical and jazz works by artists whose individual voices bring together different musical influences from across the spectrum. New Amsterdam is proud to have partnered with a number of outstanding organizations, including The Kaufman Center, WNYC, Cantaloupe Records, Manhattan New Music Project, Galapagos Art Space, Non-Classical UK, MATA, Search and Restore, and Counterstream Radio.


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