Dark Water: Battle over the Franklin Dam retold in new documentary

A cathartic documentary that explores the contemporary relevance of the Franklin Dam protest movement will go into full scale production in November.

Dark Water: Battle on the Franklin centres on activist Oliver Cassidy, whose father Mike was convener of the Wilderness Society in Launceston at the height of the campaign to stop the hydroelectricity scheme.

"He rafted the river over 18 days to join the blockade, he got arrested and was home a week before I was born," Cassidy said.

The documentary will follow Cassidy as he retraces his father's epic journey down the Franklin, paddling through rough waters and learning about those who fought to save the wilderness in the 1980s.

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"We're just on the verge of losing those stories and I feel now is more important than ever to capture those," Cassidy said.

The feature-length film will include interviews with former Greens leader Bob Brown, entrepreneurial ally Dick Smith and up river "feral" Alice Hungerford.

SAVE IT: Activist 'Nigel' listens to classical music in the wilderness. Picture: Supplied

SAVE IT: Activist 'Nigel' listens to classical music in the wilderness. Picture: Supplied

Producer Chris Kamen hoped Dark Water would provide "a great case study" for those fighting contemporary environmental campaigns, such as the one against the Adani coal mine.

"I'm a bit overwhelmed by climate change and the environmental crises we're facing," he said.

"We felt that this is a story that gives us hope because it shows how non-violent action can be a really affecting at catalysing change.

"The campaigners at the time took action even though they felt like they were probably going to lose and I find that incredibly powerful."

THE JOURNEY: Activists journey on the Franklin River at Nasty Notch. Picture: Supplied

THE JOURNEY: Activists journey on the Franklin River at Nasty Notch. Picture: Supplied

Kamen first learned about the Franklin Dam campaign when he studied the High Court case at law school in early 2010s.

He met Cassidy in 2015, who also wanted to make a film about the Franklin River.

The pair teamed up and joined director and co-writer Kasimir Burgess and co-writer Claire Smith.

The film has been supported by Screen Australia and Screen Tasmania and a crowdfunding campaign to round off the budget was launched this month.

THE SHOOT: Dark Water protagonist Oliver Cassidy with director Kasimir Burgess. Picture: Supplied

THE SHOOT: Dark Water protagonist Oliver Cassidy with director Kasimir Burgess. Picture: Supplied

Cassidy hopes Dark Water will inspire people to take action but he is also looking forward to reconnecting with his now-deceased father as he paddles down the Franklin.

"He said he came alive in the mountains and the wilderness so I sort of feel that his spirit is out there somewhere," Cassidy said.

"I'll be kind of going to meet him and if I don't, I'll be meeting myself.

For more information or to donate to the documentary, visit www.franklinriver.movie