On the French Broad River

On the French Broad River follows the journey of the Torgerson family as they raft 147 miles from Rosman, North Carolina, through class III and IV whitewater rapids, all the way to Douglass Lake in Tennessee. With environmental themes related to water quality and best management practices within watersheds, this film is about the river, the people who use it, and the social and political issues that surround it. Utilizing interviews with those within the fields of biology, wildlife conservation, and geology, this is an educational and heartwarming film for the whole family.

  • Bill Torgerson
    Yes You May: The Story of Christopher's Garden, The Mushroom Hunter, For the Love of Books
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    family adventure
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 9, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    5,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Queens World Film Festival
    New York City
    United States
    March 16, 2017
    World Premiere
Director Biography - Bill Torgerson

Bill Torgerson divides his time between New York City where he teaches writing courses at St. John's University and Asheville, North Carolina where he lives with his wife Megan and two daughters. Torgerson's screenplay adaptation of his novel Love on the Big Screen won the Grand Prize of the Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition. His award winning documentaries include For the Love of Books, The Mushroom Hunter, and Yes You May: The Story of Christopher's Garden. He is the author of three books of fiction, and writer Pat Conroy called Torgerson's latest novel, The Coach's Wife, "One of the best books about basketball and coaching I've ever read with a love story so complicated books clubs will be talking about it for years." Torgerson publishes a Torg Stories podcast to iTunes and posts updates about his work at

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Director Statement

The film got its start when I began to look for a story local to my home in Asheville, North Carolina. I felt a vague sense that my family and I were missing out on something by not spending time on the French Broad River that flows through our town. It seemed like everywhere we went there was a canoe or kayak propped up on the roof of someone's car. As with a lot of adventures--one thing, one conversation, led to the next--and my family and I ended up with plans to do what is called the French Broad Paddle Trail, 147 miles of the river from Rosman, North Carolina to Newport, Tennessee. It was an adventure that took us through stunning scenery and during which I learned a lot, including the nuts and bolts of how to navigate the river, the people who care for it, and the social and political issues that surround its continued good health. During the making of this film, I became an enthusiastic advocate for the river, and it's my hope this story will enliven some of its viewers to care about the rivers near their homes as much as I have come to care about the French Broad.