Charles Jones, president of Amherst Industries, talks about the river's importance as a 21st century waterway, and reminisces about building his first Kanawha River sternwheeler -- a johnboat powered by a washing machine motor.
Historic photos of riverboats, river towns, river people and the old wooden lock and dam system once employed on the Kanawha help make "The Great Kanawha" a visual treat.
"Gerry Sutphin guided the theme of the program, and I did the trench work of shooting, directing and editing," said Simmons.
"The Great Kanawha" is the first documentary to be released by the West Virginia Documentary Consortium Inc., a nonprofit organization devoted to films portraying West Virginia history and culture.
"We have another one-hour documentary completed, which deals with West Virginia in the 1950s, but so far, we haven't been able to raise the funding needed to buy the rights to the music we want to accompany it," Simmons said.
A second West Virginia river documentary is in production, this one covering the Elk River. "Right now, we're getting some really gorgeous footage of the various sections of the river," Simmons said. "We'd like to do a series of programs on the major rivers of the state. I think people need to know how important they are, and how blessed we are to have them."
For information on the West Virginia Documentary Consortium and to see a preview of "Elk River Odyssey," the documentary now in production, visit www.wvdocumentary.org.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.