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A River Called Home

What's the Film?

"A River Called Home" follows the journey of four women who launch at the headwaters of the James River and paddle to the Chesapeake Bay. For three weeks, the team faces challenges along the way, including whitewater rapids and a river with a history of pollution.


Along the way, the team conducts a water quality study, asking how our waterways are being protected and what more we have left to do.

Read a discussion on the film between Director Jess Wiegandt and Sony Alpha here.

Watch the Trailer

Host A Screening!

The film premiered at the 2023 National Paddling Film Festival and is ready to be shown at your festival, brewery, or event!  Get in touch with Jess if you are interested in hosting a screening of the film.


Screening Tour:

February 18 - National Paddling Film Festival (Now part of the traveling Roadshow) | Frankfort, KY

February 24 - Virginia Adventure Education Conference | Fincastle, VA

March 24 - Annapolis Film Festival | Annapolis, MD

April 16 - RiverRun Festival at The Kennedy Center | Washington, DC

May 21 - Starr Hill Brewery | Roanoke, VA

June 1 - PlanRVA Open House | Richmond, VA

August 23 - US Embassy Special Event | Moscow, RU

September 22 - Lynchburg Water Resources | Lynchburg, VA

September 30 - October 1 - Chesapeake Film Festival | Easton, MD

October 1 - Waterwalker Film Festival | Ontario, Canada

October 5, 2023 - Sioux City International Film Festival | Sioux City, IA

October 22 - Väsen Brewing Company | Richmond, VA

November 10-12 - Wild Coast Film Festival | Astoria, OR

January 6, 2024 - Chesapeake Film Festival Showcase | Talbot County Library, Easton, MD

Educational Materials

"A River Called Home" is a film with an impact plan to engage with K-12 educational programs, implementing low-cost experiential lesson plans into classrooms to provide accessible watershed education.

Lesson plans can accompany the film with an educational screening package or can serve as stand-alone classroom resources.

Please enjoy our two complimentary lesson plans, available for download below. If your classroom is in need of lesson plans catered to specific curriculum, get in touch!

Meet The Team


Jess Wiegandt 

Director, Producer, Editor, Expedition Team Leader, Big Fan of Whitewater


Grace Eggleston

Director of Photography, Sound Operator, Gear Manager, Phenomenal Pie Maker


Sejal Kinker

Paddler Extraordinaire, ACA Instructor, Sound Operator, Full of Laughter 


Beth Ebisch

Second Camera, Sound Operator, Data Analyst, Has A Great Chaco Tan

Behind the Scenes

Why Me?

With two paddlesports instructors for parents, it isn't a surprise I grew up on the water. The James River was where I learned to canoe and kayak, gaining confidence not only as a paddler but also as a woman. 

I have always wanted to take the time to experience my home river in a special, challenging way and this trip allowed me to find out how our waterways are protected and what we can do to advocate for more. 


Who's Helping Us?

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