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Duo documents kayaking down Mississippi

Duo documents kayaking down Mississippi

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Ryan Jeanes and Phillip Hullquist packed two kayaks with supplies early last summer and set off down the Mississippi River on a three-month journey from Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico.

The adventure yielded a documentary, “The River is Life,” which the duo will screen at 8 p.m. Thursday at Lake Park in Winona.

“It’s what I call real-reality TV,” Jeanes said. “None of it is staged.”

The movie is the second effort for the friends. In their first film, “The Hitchhiking Movie,” they hitchhiked from New York to Los Angeles.

Their river trip took them more than 2,300 miles. They collected 56 hours of content between June 22 and Oct. 4 of 2009. Over several months the film was cut down to 90 minutes. Now a year later, they are following their path down the Mississippi again on the “The River is Life” tour. The film will be shown in various towns along the Mississippi in parks and outdoor areas.

“We could have shown it in film festivals, but the type of movie about two guys on the river would be appreciated more by people who live on the river,” Jeanes said.

Viewers are also sure to appreciate the hardships the men encountered on their adventure — at one point they paddled through funnel clouds swirling near St. Louis.

 “Nothing ever went to plan,” Jeanes said. “We followed a ready, aim, fire technique. We figured out what we needed or had to change quickly.”

The movie is also about the people they met along the way. Winonans watching may see some familiar faces.

Hullquist said the trip — and the movie — taught him something about life.

“You learn something new every day,” he said.  “With The Mississippi you have to keep moving. Just get in the boat and keep going. There’s nothing else you can do.”


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What: Screening for “The River is Life,” a documentary about a kayak trip down the Mississippi River

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