Filmmaker Sam Bode will present “follow the water” documentary in Bishop
Back in 2008, Sam Bode went camping with some friends by Mono Lake. She had just moved to Los Angeles to work as a film editor and was startled out of her wilderness experience by a truck bearing the words, “Los Angeles Department of Water and Power” (LADWP). After grilling the Mono Lake Committee employee working the group’s Lee Vining bookstore about what that truck was doing 380 miles away from the city, the idea for her documentary “The Longest Straw” was born.
Bode went back to L.A. and started asking Angelenos about the Los Angeles Aqueduct. “Most people had no idea what I was talking about. They thought I was talking about the California Aqueduct, but they’d never even heard of the Owens Valley or the people who live by this aqueduct and are affected by our water usage,” said Bode in an interview this week.
In 2015, Bode teamed up with Producer and friend Angela Jorgeson. Bode was determined to hike the length of the L.A Aqueduct, from the city to Mono Lake. She planned to carry her filming equipment on her back and interview people who work on and live near the aqueduct in Owens Valley communities to learn about the impacts of L.A.’s water diversions. The goal was to create a visual product that would spread awareness about where L.A.’s water comes from.
In the summer of 2015, Bode, who says she weighs about 120 pounds, set off on her journey. This meant schlepping her 60-pound pack of food, backpacking gear, water, and filming equipment through the Mojave Desert during the hottest period of the driest year in California’s history. Jorgeson and other friends assisted with water caches and hiked with her for periods of the trip, which took about 65 days. “In retrospect, what we did was really dangerous,” said Bode. “Honestly, I cried a lot. When you’re out there and walking through the desert, it’s hard to see things as beautiful. You’re hot and thirsty… and you’re supposed to be capturing these stunning landscapes.”