Fly fishing film will be made in honor of friends

A local woman who lost two of her best friends to breast cancer has written the script for a documentary about fly fishing.

Karen Hall’s friend, Lena, died more than 10 years ago at the age of 50, within nine months of being diagnosed. Hall said Lena had a mastectomy and treatment, but it was not enough.

Annamaria Hemingway died at the age of 61.

She received chemotherapy and radiation treatments five years ago and was pronounced cancer free.

“But then it came back with a vengeance as stage four, just a few years later,” Hall said.

Those deaths are part of Hall’s motivation to make a documentary about three women fighting breast cancer.

“She loved nature, and we spent years hiking everywhere including the Columbia River Gorge,” Hall said, regarding Hemingway. “She was eager to try fly fishing, but she died in August 2014.”

Hall, 60, will be the executive producer and writer of the documentary, “River of Life,” and Todd Moen, of Sisters, Oregon, will be the cinematographer, filmmaker and editor.

To find documentary participants, they are working with “Casting for Recovery” — a fly fishing program for women who have breast cancer.

The film’s budget is $23,000. Hall is seeking $15,000 from a Trout Unlimited grant, and she is hoping to raise $8,000 through a crowdfunding campaign as well as sponsorships and/or in-kind service donations.

Hall and Kelley Moen are donating their time for project development.

‘Getting back in touch with the natural world’

Hall took up fly fishing in 2014.

In March of that year, she joined Clark-Skamania Flyfishers.

Two months later Hall went on her first outing with the club, and she caught her first trout on the fly.

“Once you start, you won’t want to stop,” she said. “It’s so much fun.”

Hall said fly fishers do a lot of catch and release, and most are active conservationists.

“Clark-Skamania Flyfishers members volunteer and make grants regularly to restore fish habitat and deliver salmon carcasses to upper stretches of river that are blocked by the dams, so that nutrients are returned to the rivers,” she said. “They also have outreach programs with free casting lessons.

“Most fly fishers don’t use barbed hooks either, so it’s a much more graceful and environmentally conscious way to fish,” Hall added.

She is also a member of the Stonefly Maidens, which consists of Oregon and Washington women who like to fly fish.

Hall has fly fished in lakes around Mount Rainier, and in the Washougal, Klickitat and Deschutes rivers.

“There was so much comfort in getting back in touch with the natural world,” Hall said, regarding fly fishing.

A creative background

Hall and her husband, Tom, own the Camas Hotel.

Her employment background includes providing outreach and public relations for the California Department of Child Support Services. Hall is a former director of marketing and development for the International Center for Earth Concerns and the Ojai Music Festival, in Ojai, California.

She was previously a partner and producer for the Ojai Shakespeare Company, and an actress in film, TV and theatre.

“The subject of fly fishing has been covered in many joyous, adventure films, primarily by men,” Hall wrote in the grant application. “This grant represents an opportunity to add a woman’s perspective to the annals of fly fishing films.

“‘River of Life’ reflects ideas and feelings that most fly fishermen share, yet from a uniquely feminine perspective,” Hall added. “Breast cancer is a feminine struggle, but when one in eight women in the United States are afflicted with it, it touches everyone’s lives.”