SXSW 2014: ‘Yakona’ Glass Bottom Boat Tour

todayMarch 22, 2014 57 1

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By Jordan Gass-Poore’

Meadows Center
The Meadows Center in San Marcos is housed in the former hotel of the Aquarena Springs Amusement Park.

In honor of the world premiere of the experimental San Marcos River documentary, Yakona, I attended a glass bottom boat tour at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment with the movie’s directors, Paul Collins and Anlo Sepulveda, producer, Jill Hall, and other media representatives after the movie’s screening at The Paramount Theatre during this year’s SXSW. The bus ride from the Paramount to the Meadows Center was made even more enjoyable by my chance encounter with Austin Chronicle Senior Editor Kate Messer, who also happens to be my internship coordinator at the Chronicle. I was also pleased to be in the company of Paul and Anlo once more, having covered the making of Yakona since 2011 for various media outlets. Paul and I also frequent the same San Marcos-based coffee shop, but it was through this experience that I learned that Paul grew up in Canada. It was also in 2011 when I first met Jill. She was an apprentice with the Austin Film Society the summer I interned with the nonprofit.

I hadn’t been on a glass bottom boat tour in years. I remember going with my mom a few times as a kid, marveling at the bubbling springs and remnants of the former Aquarena Amusement Park that were lodged in the earth below. These remnants have since been removed, but the experience was eyeopening all the same; that child-like wonder was apparent on the faces of all media representatives involved. It was interesting to hear the comments made by those who had never previously been to San Marcos, how beautiful and pristine the river is and how they’d like to return. When I hear comments like that there’s a part of me that wants to tell them to never return because I’m fearful that increased tourism will hurt the San Marcos River, but on the other hand I believe increased awareness about the river and its endangered species is important. To me, Yakona does an impeccable job walking that fine line; the documentary doesn’t necessarily take sides or spoon feed the viewer (if anything, it makes the viewer want to go out and further research the river’s history).

But readers can judge for themselves from 9-10 p.m. on April 12, when Yakona will make its San Marcos premiere during the Inaugural Texas Wild Rice Festival (my KTSW newscast about the festival). The free screening will take place at Sewell Park.

Emily Reas interviewed Paul and Anlo on the heels of the Yakona screening at the Paramount, which, according to Jill, brought more than 600 people. The San Marcos community rallied around the movie; the San Marcos River Foundation spearheaded a pre-sale ticket effort, selling 300 tickets. Paul said the Paramount manager was surprised that its employees had to open the balcony seating because it’s typically only national, headlining movies that have the number of attendees to warrant that kind of seating.

Get a glimpse of Yakona on the movie’s Flickr account and in the trailer below:

Thank you Israel Prewitt, Texas State biology senior, for the glass bottom boat tour at the Meadows Center:

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    SXSW 2014: ‘Yakona’ Glass Bottom Boat Tour

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    SXSW 2014: ‘Yakona’ Glass Bottom Boat Tour

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