Experiencing Interruptions?

River's Run Out

Welcome to Game Night, where the stakes are the arid West, the goal is development of the Colorado River Basin, and the key is water. Let's see if we can rewrite history...

The Colorado River flows from its headwaters near Kremmling, Colorado through the southeastern corner of Utah, across Arizona and Nevada. It flows along the edge of California, drying up before reaching the Gulf of California in Mexico. Significant tributaries gather in the mountain ranges of Wyoming and New Mexico and flow into the mainstream. These seven states, divided into two basins, share a 15 million acre foot allotment of the Colorado River. Optimistic and driven by development, legislators over allotted this water, creating a crisis now exacerbated by climate change. The Colorado currently flows at around 13 maf, and the arid west is now divyed up into green grids, sprawling housing developments, a web of canals, irrigation ditches and dams, etc.

This creative documentary short seeks to answer the question of who, in the Southwest, will be the most impacted by drought, over-allotments, and climate change, as well as how they will be affected. The film captures the current state of the river basin, looks at the historic context the Law of the River and the Colorado River Compact, and sees how Colorado tribes, agricultural and ranching industries, and urban areas are planning for the future. This film aims to be a comprehensive and creative touchstone for citizens in the Southwest wondering how their lives may change with less access to Colorado River water.

Filmmaker Statement
The topic of water, its life-giving nature, its political ramifications, and its free flowing beauty holds a special spot in both Rainys’ and Frances’ hearts. Rainy has been deeply passionate about water usage, conservation, and recreation in the West, since growing up on the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers in Montana, the Willamette in Oregon, and the Salmon in Idaho. Frances has also been interested in water use in the Southwest, having spent time around the Glen Canyon Dam and on the Colorado River recreationally.

After reading several books on the topic, every news article we could find, federal and state legislation about the river, watching documentaries, and talking to experts, we developed a solid understanding of the historical, social, and political context in which the river is drying up. As students in the Southwest, we are burgeoning Southwestern citizens, and will soon be inheriting the Colorado River system and all of its issues. This project asks the questions that we grappled with throughout this process; who will be the most impacted; how will they be impacted; and what are the solutions we need to champion?

  • Rainy Adkins
  • Frances Thyer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 9 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 28, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,200 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Colorado College
Director - Rainy Adkins, Frances Thyer