For all you water lovers

Director Thomas Oliver and cast

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS –– The Raven Fork, a Class V whitewater river located in the Great Smoky Mountains, descends rapidly from its origins near the Appalachian Trail to the valley floor in the Big Cove section of the Qualla Boundary.

The steep, narrow descent is a favorite of extreme whitewater kayakers and the centerpiece of an upcoming feature film created by Thomas Oliver, producer and director at Filmmakers Inc.

“The Raven Fork is just a beautiful, special place which posed a perfect backdrop for the story that we wanted to tell,” said Oliver.

With a movie shot in the backyard of WCU, it’s sure to be cinematography that will leave your jaws dropped.

Raven Fork is a fictional story with a theatrical feel, in contrast to traditional kayaking films that feature matter-of-fact footage of boaters running crazy whitewater with cool soundtracks as a backdrop. The film is about the drama associated with the human drive for adventure, and it highlights the mystery and magic of Raven Fork as if it were a character.

Though the movie is geared toward a core audience – kayakers – it’s a glimpse inside kayaking that has appeal for a broad range of viewers.

“I just wanted to make it as good as I could for boaters to see and enjoy, more so than trying to make it for anyone,” said Oliver.

Oliver has been traveling to numerous paddling film festivals and says the response to the film has been positive. The Russell Fork, Raven Fork, and the coastal waters of Georgia and Florida are all featured throughout the film.

Oliver said the weather was the main obstacle the crew faced during shooting. Trying to run the Raven Fork at the height of a drought posed problems.

“It all worked out though. We ended up just having to take our time,” said Oliver.

It took almost two years to shoot Raven Fork, which allowed Oliver and his crew to capture the river’s character through the seasons.

A release party, to be held at 7 p.m. on  April 14 at the Highland Brewing Company Tasting Room in Asheville, NC, will kick off the distribution of the film.

To pre-order the movie visit and receive a free HD version of Oliver’s Green River: On the Down Low available immediately after the purchase.