Co-Founder Samuel Wolfe’s “Upstream Battle: The Salish Sea’s Last Reefnetters” wins Cascade PBS Origins docuseries grant

May 24, 2024 | Fishboat in the News, Fishboat Media Project News, Fishboat Projects

Series Director Samuel Wolfe and Cinematographer Tyler Rowe join Cascade PBS’s Director of Original Programming Sarah Menzies onstage for the announcement at the closing night of the 2024 Seattle International Film Festival. (Arlo Ballard/Cascade PBS)

Fishboat Media is thrilled to announce that Co-Founder Samuel Wolfe’s submission, “Upstream Battle: The Salish Sea’s Last Reefnetters” has been selected by Cascade PBS as the winner of their 2024 Origins Project. Production begins this June and concludes at year’s end, with the series intended to air in March of 2025.

The announcement was made official this past weekend at the closing night of the Seattle International Film Festival, with series Director Wolfe and Cinematographer Tyer Rowe in attendance. 

Fishboat Media’s Tyler Rowe (left) and Samuel Wolfe (right). (Arlo Ballard/Cascade PBS) | Wolfe and his grandmother Katherine Hargarten attend the SIFF after party at MOHAI.

Origins, a docuseries initiative by Cascade PBS, collaborates with filmmaking communities in the PNW and Canada to highlight stories deeply rooted in ancestry, culture, and regional values. Each year, documentary filmmakers from within these communities vie for a $40,000 grant to create a compelling five-part docuseries. The grant process for the Origins series is highly competitive, with submissions open from February to April each year. A panel comprising representatives from Cascade PBS, the Seattle International Film Festival, and leaders from the Pacific Northwest film communities reviews the applications and selects a winner. 

Samuel’s submission, Upstream Battle, takes a look at the deep cultural significance of reefnet fishing to the Coast Salish people, and features Ellie Kinley, member of the Lummi Nation and last remaining native reefnet permit holder. It is a story about recognizing, retaining, and when necessary, ultimately redefining our identities when they’re challenged by forces beyond our control. 

On a recent episode of the “Northwest Reports” Podcast, Samuel sat down with host Maleeha Syed to talk about the series, how his identity drew him to the story, why Fishboat Media is uniquely positioned to help tell it, and what he hopes to achieve with the project. Listen to the full episode below.