National Paddling Film Festival - Raven Fork

Last weekend Dave and I broke free and made the drive to Frankfort Kentucky for the 2011 National Paddling Film Festival.

It was my first time attending and Raven Fork was the feature presentation on Friday night. The Buffalo Trace Distillery was the perfect venue for a kayak gathering. The all volunteer NPFF staff decked it out with food, beer, and HD projection.

The cool part for me was watching the reactions of the Kentucky boating contingency to the Russel Fork sequence. Blake's piton and Dave's epic mystery move went over well.

Brandon Jett wrote a follow up note and said we helped raise over $13,000 for river based charities and American Whitewater.

Goodtimes. It was good to be able to watch all of the boatn' films of the year in one fail swoop.

Raven Fork - National Paddling Film Festival - Bryce Evans

Raven Fork is the feature presentation this Friday February, 25th at the National Paddling Film Festival in Frankfort, Ky.

Here is the Festival Program:

Raven Fork World Premiere! Dixie Film Festival. Athens, GA. Saturday October 2nd 5:00 pm!

Raven Fork World Premiere!
Dixie Film Festival
Athens, Ga

Saturday October 2nd 5pm
Morton Theatre
195 West Washington Street
Athens, GA

We are ecstatic to be holding the World Premiere of Raven Fork here in the South!

Athens is a great paddle town and the Dixie Film Festival is going to be a great time. As a matter of fact Athens is home to our sound guy and Raven Fork featured musician Lane Seabolt.

Speaking of Raven Fork music, Dave Matthews says "It's the best soundtrack ever. It will quickly become the shuttle anthem of every paddle trip!"

Athens is a music town so here's as peak at the artists driving Raven Fork:

Modest Mouse

Lane Seabolt

Bon Iver

Slightly Stoopid

Kotton Mouth Kings



Clap Your Hands Say Yeah


Edwin Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Nickel Eye


Death from Above 1979

The Raven Fork World Premiere is Saturday August 2nd at 5p.

More information on the Dixie Film Festival can be found here. (

Ticket are $10 for the screening or $35 for a festival pass.

Order tickets for Raven Fork here. (Raven Fork Tickets)

A little press from the 2010 Outdoor Retailer Industry Focus Screenings

While some might think the whitewater industry is treading water, one filmmaker is banking that audiences will lap up the newest river film to hit the silver screen. Raven Fork, produced by Thomas Oliver, is playing two industry focus group screenings during the Outdoor Retailer 2010 Summer Show in Salt Lake City, UT.

It isn't another documentary. Instead, this is the first-ever feature-length dramatic kayaking film to huck its way into Hollywood. The storyline examines the beauty of nature, importance of friendship and unpredictable perils of fate through the eyes of a band of Southeast Kayakers.

In a nutshell: Living in the mountain of North Carolina, two friends Dave (Glenn Laplante) and Blake (Frank Jordan) find life, friendship and adrenaline traveling from kayak trip to kayak trip. After making plans to run the Class V Raven Fork deep in the Appalachian wilderness, a tragic river accident and self destructive tailspin highlights the plight of the human spirit's desire to prevail.

"I always knew I was going to do a kayak feature, but wanted to do something relevant that hadn't been seen before." said Oliver, whose production follows his first release, Green River: On the Down Low. "I wanted to do something that paddlers could enjoy but would also be well- received by the mainstream. It cut through a lot of the 'dude factor' you see in other kayak films."

While the plot isn't based on a true story, it draws upon Oliver's 15 years of kayaking. All of its actors, including Lunch Video Magazine's John Grace, are experienced paddlers doing their own stunts.

"It has elements for everyone," Oliver added. "A lot of people are surprised that it's a solid story. Core paddlers can relate to its emotion, adrenaline and friendships, while those outside the sport get an authentic look at the paddlesports culture."

-OR Daily, Eugene Buchanan

Outdoor Reatiler 2010 - Raven Fork Industry Screening

"Raven Fork" is playing two screenings In Salt Lake City August 5th during the Outdoor Retailer 2010 Summer Market.

What: Raven Fork Industry Premiere

Where: Brewvies 677 South 200 West
Salt Lake City, Utah

When: Thursday August 5th.
12 noon & 7pm

$5 cash at the door.

Cast and Crew Party

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Asheville Cast and Crew Party screening of Raven Fork a blast!

Left to right: Glenn LaPlante, Eamonn McCullough, Lane Seabolt, Thomas Oliver, Kari Fields, Frank Jordan, and (down in front) Bryce Evans.

Raven Fork Reviews

"I do my own stunts."
-Glenn LaPlante

"Raven Fork is a ground breaking film."
-Virginia Marshall, Rapid Magazine

"..a new and different whitewater film experience."
-Kayak Session Magazine

"No paddling porn here!"
-Graham Averill,
Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine

"Goes beyond kayak highlight reels or documentaries.."

-JC, Canoe&Kayak Magazine

"...could prove to be the next Deliverance."

-John Grace, LVM Magazine

Cranky Hanke's Mountain Express Raven Fork film review.

Raven Fork (NR)
Ken Hanke | 06/16/2010
Genre: Whitewater Action Drama
Directed by: Thomas W. Oliver
Starring: Glenn LaPlante, Frank Jordan, Suzanne Warren, Eammon Mccullogh, Bryce Evans

Thomas W. Oliver’s Raven Fork, a local production, makes its debut this week. It’s the kind of film that will appeal much more strongly to aficionados of the sport at its core—whitewater kayaking—than it will to the uninitiated. This doesn’t mean that it has no appeal outside that core group, however. Far from it. Whether you go in for this sort of activity or if you—like I—think cross-country sitting is quite strenuous enough, there’s an appeal to the sheer beauty of the kayaking scenes. Better yet, Oliver has a terrific eye for composition and nearly every shot—at least the exteriors—is gauged for maximum visual impact.

Raven Fork is ultimately a niche film. There’s no doubt of that and there’s nothing wrong with that. But as I say, it has merits that crossover into more general interest, mostly through the film’s visuals. But the story also has a fairly broad appeal, since tales of friendship, loss, redemption and the need for closure are universal. It’s also an important new look into the Asheville filmmaking scene. Thomas Oliver is a very promising voice on that scene. His film is worth catching and his progress worth following.

LVM Podcast - Raven Fork: A discussion with Thomas Oliver and Glenn LaPlante

You can hear Glenn LaPlante and Thomas Oliver discuss Raven Fork the Movie with John Grace in this LVM podcast.

Raven Fork Film Premiere, Giant Slalom Announcement from Lunch Video Magazine on Vimeo.

Check em' out and subscribe at:

Got word from my brother from another mother.

"Keep thinking reality Tv is in the hands of those who know how to Document Reality. That's you my Friend"

- Jeff "Jeffe" Burlingham

Raven Fork Cast & Crew Premiere - June 17th

What: Raven Fork Feature Film Cast and Crew Premiere.

When: June 17th 2010
Doors open at 7pm
$5 cash at the door.

Where: Fine Arts Theatre
Downtown Asheville, NC.

36 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801

National Paddling Film Festival "Offical Selection"

"Green River: On The Down Low" was an official selection at the 2009 National Paddling Film Festival.

The festival was hosted by World Squirt Boat Champion Clay Wright.

I received this question from Clay:

"Hey Thomas, Curious what this piece is for? Seems more film or TV like than paddle-porn."


"Green River: On the Down Low" was shot as a camera/crew/actor/river test. I needed to know how we were going to handle different types of scenes. The best way to learn is to do so I wrote out about 5-6 scenes for our cast and crew. We went out and shot them and learned a lot.

The original project had no intention of being a short film. Once everything was shot and each scene was in a rough cut someone mentioned that is was kind of like a little story and asked "what happened to the kayaker?"

I went into editing and came out with something that was presentable.

So that is what it was originally for. Now it's a calling card for "Raven Fork" my feature film we've been shooting since July 2008.

Production stills from the set. November 2007.