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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 "A River Called Home"

"A River Called Home" had its broadcast premiere with Maryland Public Television on April 24, 2024. It is now available online with PBS for all audiences. For teachers - once you've watched the film, please download our free educational resources (seen below) to utilize in your classroom!

Watch the Trailer

Sometimes it's hard to decide if you're ready to commit to a half hour film.

We understand. Get a taste of what's in store below!

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:

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

January 27, 2024 - Boats & Brews | Richmond, VA

March 8, 2024 - Worldwide Women's Film Festival | Phoenix, AZ

March - December, 2024 - No Man's Land Film Festival | World Tour

April 13, 2024 - Chesapeake College Arts Festival | Wye Mills, MD

April 20, 2024 - Coastal Canoeists Spring Meet Up | Lexington, VA

April 26, 2024 - UVA Clean Water | Charlottesville, VA

April 26-28 - Albuquerque Film Festival | Albuquerque, NM

September 12, 2024 - Garfield Center for the Arts | Chestertown, 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 Helped Us?

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