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Video Visionary Award – Humanitarian Recipient: American Rivers

by RealPlayer on September 15, 2013

Video Visionary American RiversWe’re pleased to announce our next recipient of the RealPlayer Video Visionary Award – Humanitarian, which recognizes non-profit organizations that use video in creative and innovative ways to help spread its message, is American Rivers. Since 1973, American Rivers has aided in the protection and restoration efforts of 150,000 miles of our nation’s treasured rivers and streams.

American Rivers, along with ­­more than 100,000 supporters, members and volunteers focus efforts on issues of water pollution, protecting water supplies, dams and hydropower, river cleanups, the impacts of climate change on rivers, flooding, blue trails and preserving wild & scenic free-flowing rivers with its collective goals being: “Ensure clean drinking water supplies, revitalizing fish and wildlife, improving recreation, and leaving a legacy of healthy rivers for future generations.”


For more than 6 million years, The Colorado River, America’s most endangered river for 2013, has provided water and recreation for over 36 million people in seven states, two countries, and nine National Parks. Restoration efforts are critical and currently a main priority of American Rivers at this time, as seen in this recent video by Pete McBride.


We caught up with Amy Kober, Senior Communications Director at American Rivers, to learn more about the organization and how the use of video helps spread its message. What follows is our interview with the Video Visionary Award – Humanitarian recipient:

RealPlayer (RP): How long has American Rivers been producing videos?

Amy Kober (AK): We’ve been producing videos – either internally, or working with outside filmmakers – for more than ten years. You can see a number of them on the American Rivers website.

RP: Do you use any special effects in your videos to achieve a particular goal? 

AK: Rivers are pretty amazing on their own and don’t need many special effects, but we have used animation at times. We used an animated visualization to show what a river would look like once a dam came down. We also worked with Portland-based Muscle and Bone Design to create an animated video about the benefits of green roofs:

Time lapse photography has also been really powerful can be seen in filmmaker Andy Maser’s footage of the Condit Dam removal.

RP: What are some of the challenges the video team faces when shooting these videos?

AK: As a non-profit, our limited budget is usually our biggest constraint. Any time you’re filming outside you have to deal with unexpected weather and river conditions. We have been lucky to work with incredibly talented and generous filmmakers like Pete McBride (Colorado), Andy Maser (Portland), and Kurt Guenther (Seattle) who do really wonderful work.

RP: How has video helped you spread the word about American Rivers?

AK: We have used video in a number of ways. We’ve done some videos aimed at targeted audiences of community decision makers and/or river managers, providing specific information and case studies about a particular issue of concern, like dam removal or green infrastructure.  Other videos, like Pete McBride’s short video about the Colorado River, are geared toward a broader public, where we want to inspire people to take action, share, and spread the word.

RP: Can you tell us about the video team?

AK: Creating a video involves close collaboration between the filmmaker and some of our key conservation and communications staff.

RP: Where can people go to learn more about American Rivers and spread the word on the Organization?

AK: People can visit our website,, and also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

What do you think of the American Rivers videos? What’s your favorite video? Did you know the Colorado River was in such dire straights? Let us know in the comments below.

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