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Toyota-Sponsored Documentarian has Passion for Salmon, Grizzlies


The life span of a patio documentarian is really a combination of pulse-pounding adventure and occasional peril. For Idaho journalist Kris Millgate, she wouldnt own it any way.

Millgate owns Tight Line Media, an organization that’s equally adept at both visual and print journalism. Her romance for nature is due to her childhood when she’d scan the skies for a rare glimpse of a novelty helmet, near her home. Today, her work takes her a large number of miles, through meandering waterways and over challenging land masses. Millgate is presently riding a tide of success, as her one-year-old documentary, Ocean to Idaho, has been collecting a range of awards from several outdoor media associations and environment-focused film festivals. Her 30-minute film also earned Millgate a couple of local Emmy nominations.

Ocean to Idaho chronicles the journey of Chinook salmon and their round-trip migration from Idaho nesting tributaries to the Pacific Ocean and back. With a life span of five years, the featured salmon will travel four rivers and three states to access the Pacific, their current address for just two to 3 years, before returning home.

This project was on my bucket list, Millgate said. I saw my first salmon in 2017, close to the end of its life cycle, and I thought how fascinating it might be to track this species on its journey from the ocean to Idaho.

The fish featured in this film traveled 850 miles on the return trip home. However, most never go back to their original nesting grounds, which explains why Chinook are on the endangered species list. Besides natural predators, salmon must combat human obstacles such as for example electrical dams and sport fisherman. While necessary to the neighborhood economy and area residents, electrical dams could be especially difficult for the fish, but Millgate was determined never to have the documentary be considered a one-sided film. She interviewed Native Americans, recreationalists, farmers, environmentalists, biologists and civil engineers to get their particular perspectives about dams vs. salmon.

My goal was never to tell viewers what things to think but showing all sides of a complex subject, she said.

The documentary took a physical toll on Millgate as she dedicated nearly per year to filming and production work. Her travels took her 80 miles by raft and 4,606 miles by vehicle, as she gathered her footage. The rigors of the shoot also forced her to utilize five cameras, the one that suffered a broken lens, while enduring bruises and stiches from various injuries. She also burned through three surgical masks and two jugs of sanitizer, as her principal shooting was done in 2020, through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I virtually isolated myself on the highway for everyones safety, Millgate said. It designed for some lonely times but Im really pleased with the finished product.

Millgate was highly complementary of Teton Toyota of Idaho Falls, who provided funding and exclusive using a Tundra pickup for the documentary.

I couldnt did this project without Toyota, Millgate said. Their investment and involvement was paramount in the completion of the film.

Travis Zmak, managing partner and general manager at Teton Toyota, said the dealership has been partnering with Millgate for quite some time, when she had an area outdoor tv program. He said your choice to invest in Ocean to Idaho was an individual one.

When I started speaking with her concerning the project, I felt her passion and knew that people could help from the funding standpoint. My desire to have working together on the documentary was to learn that I possibly could someday catch salmon with my sons exactly the same way my dad and I did so growing up, Zmak said.

Zmak also said that Teton Toyotas relationship with an area celebrity, like Millgate, resonates with a lot of his customers, especially people that have a solid affection for the fantastic outdoors.

In eastern Idaho, we have been a mecca for fly fishing, snow skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and hunting, so most our customers spend extensive amount of time in the outside, Zmak said. At Toyota, you want to function as way that folks get to the outside, to pursue their passions helping them reach the places they dream of.

Not content to bask in her recent success, Millgate and Teton Toyota have previously embarked on the next endangered species migration documentary. Principal filming for On Grizzly Ground has recently begun in the higher Yellowstone Ecosystem. With an increase of than 1,000 Grizzly bears in your community, Millgate will concentrate on routes frequented by way of a creature constantly on the road albeit with long-range cameras.

As large because they are, Grizzlies can travel 1,000 miles in a summer, and make similar trips 30 times throughout their lifetimes, she said. We have to track them and understand them because you can find bound to become more Grizzly-human engagements later on. Unlike salmon, these bears could kill me, so most my filming will undoubtedly be done from the very safe distance.

On Grizzly Ground will undoubtedly be completed later this season, with a release date in summer, 2023.

Originally published July 27, 2022



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