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Posted by: John_Hamilton on 09/17/2012 09:11 AM Updated by: John_Hamilton on 09/17/2012 09:17 AM
Expires: 01/01/2017 12:00 AM

"California Forever" Now Showing on PBS Stations Nationwide ~By John Hamilton

Big Trees, CA...We had the pleasure of spending a few minutes talking with David Vassar and Sally Kaplan in front of the "Big Stump" in Big Trees State Park. Big Trees State Park features prominently in their latest "California Forever" about the California State Parks. David and Sally not only feature our area in their latest project the award winning Film and TV industry veterans now call Arnold home and they are moving their production company Backcountry Pictures to Murphys. If you click the California Forever banner below you can find all the air dates and even order a DVD of the film. We have enclosed the original release that we ran earlier on the project is enclosed that contains lots of background information on David and Sally and California Forever

Click Above for Clips, Air Dates, Info and More!!!

David Vassar and Sally Kaplan, Arnold residents, created California Forever, a two part special that tells the story of California’s state parks!!

Arnold, CA – Backcountry Pictures and KQED present California Forever, a two-part PBS television special that tells the story of California’s magnificent state parks from Yosemite in 1864 to the present day. Together, the two one-hour programs remind viewers of the importance of California’s state parks as well as their priceless legacy. California Forever is scheduled to air nationally in September 2012 (check local listings) and on KQED 9, the public media company that serves Northern California, PBS SoCal and KLCS in Los Angeles, KVIE in Sacramento, KPBS in San Diego and KVCR in the Inland Empire. California Forever was written and directed by Academy Award-nominee David Vassar. The program was produced by Sally Kaplan and David Vassar Both Arnold residents...

The idea for the film was sparked after David and Sally watched the battle between conservationists and developers over the proposed Orange County Toll Road which would have paved over a portion of San Onofre State Beach. David and Sally felt compelled to tell the story of California’s State Parks as a way to remind viewers of these parks and their value.

“The story of California State Parks is the story of California. It is also the story of the ‘park idea’ and how it spread from California across the country and around the world. The scenic beauty and historic sites that California State Parks protect celebrate our heritage, and helps define what it means to be a Californian,” said David Vassar. “In California Forever, we hope to encourage viewers to explore state parks in their neighborhoods and across California; to remind them of the priceless legacy that parks protect and to honor the individuals and groups who fought so hard to preserve them over the last 160 years.”

Episode One:
California Forever: The History of California State Parks highlights the discovery and creation of California’s state parks system and celebrates the individuals and groups whose passion and commitment helped preserve and protect them for future generations. It takes viewers on a scenic, cultural and historical tour of California’s state parks highlighting the people, key events and locales that made California history. The episode begins with the discovery of the giant sequoias in 1852 by Augustus T. Dowd and recounts the establishment of California’s first state park, Yosemite. Continuing, the narrative moves through the individual stories of citizen action that preserved many of California’s most celebrated landscapes as state parks. Included are the coast redwoods, Big Sur, Point Lobos, Hearst Castle, Lake Tahoe and the Anza-Borrego Desert. Historic places and people that commemorate crucial chapters of the California story are also explored. The plot intersects with many important victories that saved much of California’s most cherished landscape and in the process, inspired the creation of the National Park Service and the protection of wilderness.

Episode Two:
California Forever: Parks for the Future presents the very real challenges that state parks are currently facing in California. Among these are habitat destruction by overuse; protection of native species at the expense of recreation; reclaiming industrial brown fields to create new parks in dense urban areas; establishing historic sites that commemorate people and events from diverse cultures; and imminent park closures. This episode highlights the trials of balancing peaceful solitude at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with the growing demand for “off-roading” at neighboring Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area. It then tells of the wildlife preservation efforts for the northern elephant seal and western snowy plover that sometimes limit public access along parts of the central coast. California Forever stresses the importance of reclaiming land for parks in urban settings including the “re-wilding” of the Los Angeles River. Additionally, it celebrates the diverse cultures and histories of many groups who made California home, including the Chinese who first arrived at the Angel Island Immigration Station and freed slaves who created a utopian agrarian community at what is now Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

An Official Selection at the International Wildlife Film Festival, California Forever received the award for Best Educational Program in 2011. It also was selected for screenings at the 2011 American Conservation Film Festival, the 2012 Wild & Scenic Film Festival and the 2012 Environmental Film Festival of Washington, D.C.

In addition to David and Sally, California Forever’s creative team includes Christopher Tufty, director of photography; Christian White, editor; Tony Humecke, composer; and Richard Doyle, narrator. The producers scouted
more than 100 parks, and the Backcountry Pictures crew shot in 46 of them over a two-year period. The arresting visuals of California’s state parks were acquired at 4k resolution with a RED ONE digital camera.

Major funding for the PBS broadcast of California Forever is provided by Destination Cinema. With giant screen theaters in the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Hearst Castle, and Victoria, Canada, Destination Cinema provides people with an enhanced travel experience. Working with state and national parks, along with museums across the country and around the world, Destination Cinema creates opportunities for visitors to connect with extraordinary places. Additional support is provided by the Hoeffer Family Foundation and Active Network. Fiscal sponsorship is provided by the International Documentary Association.

About Backcountry Pictures
Founded in 2001, Backcountry Pictures produces films, television programs and visual content for special venues that celebrate the beauty of nature and captures the history and culture of surrounding communities. The company excels in producing programs that impart a sense of wonder about the natural world inspiring viewers to establish their own personal bond with nature. To learn more about Backcountry Pictures, please visit

About KQED
KQED ( has served Northern California for more than 50 years and is affiliated with NPR and PBS. KQED owns and operates public television stations KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area), KQED Plus (San Jose/Bay Area) and KQET 25 (Watsonville/Monterey); KQED Public Radio (88.5 FM San Francisco); and; and KQED Education. KQED Public Television, one of the most-watched public television stations in the country, is the producer/presenter national series such as Sound Track; CA State of Mind; Richard Bangs: Quest for Wonder and Essential Pépin. KQED Public Radio is the most-listened-to public radio station in the nation and the most popular in the Bay Area. Visit for more information.

Oscar®-nominated and Emmy®-winning David Vassar is a film and television writer, director and producer with more than 30 years of industry experience. His most recent film, California Forever, which he wrote, directed and produced with Sally Kaplan, is a two-part PBS television special that tells the story of California’s magnificent state parks from 1864 to the present. California Forever is scheduled to air in Fall 2012 on KQED, San Francisco’s PBS affiliate.
Mr. Vassar’s recent roster of films includes Discover Hetch Hetchy (2006), an award-winning film hosted and narrated by Harrison Ford. The film served as the centerpiece for the Environmental Defense Fund campaign to restore the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. Save Our History Yellowstone (2003) is a one-hour special for the History Channel that examines Yellowstone’s current challenges set against the background of the park’s history. Spirit of Yosemite (2001) is a destination film about Yosemite National Park that was honored as the “Best Special Venue Program” at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. It was presented for two consecutive years at the Cannes Film Festival as an “Outstanding Achievement in Digital Cinema.”

In addition to producing programs about the natural world, Mr. Vassar has produced and directed films about music and dance at the La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts in New York City, the social implications of the return of Hong Kong to China and an exploration of the ancient Maya of Central America. He also has created "immersive" digital video environments for museums.
David Vassar
Mr. Vassar has earned a number of prestigious awards for his work. A River in Disguise (1986) was honored with five Los Angeles Emmy® awards. His first feature-length documentary, Generation On The Wind (1980), was nominated for an Academy Award as “Best Documentary Feature.” He has been internationally recognized by CINE, the Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and Hawaii Film Festivals and won three Emmy’s® from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in D.C. At the age of 24, Mr. Vassar received a Silver Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival for his multimedia production, Replenish The Earth. During the 1990s, he was a primary director for the highly rated NBC television series Unsolved Mysteries.
Mr. Vassar’s first documentary film, Yosemite (1970), brought him to the attention of the National Park Service, where he later worked for two years as a park ranger in Yosemite Valley.
Today, Mr. Vassar’s production company, Backcountry Pictures, creates films and television programs that celebrate the beauty of nature and capture the history and culture of our surrounding communities. The company excels in producing programs that impart a sense of wonder about the natural world inspiring viewers to establish their own personal bond with nature

Sally Kaplan has worked in the film and television industry for more than 20 years. Ms. Kaplan joined Backcountry Pictures in 2005 where she currently writes, produces and directs film and TV projects and manages marketing and client relations. Her current project, California Forever, which she co-produced, is a two-part PBS television special that tells the story of California’s magnificent state parks – 1864 to the present day. California Forever is scheduled to air in Fall 2012 on KQED, San Francisco’s PBS affiliate.

Ms. Kaplan produced the Backcountry Pictures signature film for Grand Teton National Park, Video Rivers, in 2007. In 2006, she co-produced the award-winning documentary, Discover Hetch Hetchy, hosted and narrated by Harrison Ford. The film served as the centerpiece for the Environmental Defense Fund campaign to restore the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.
From 2002 to 2007, Ms. Kaplan produced and wrote as a freelancer for numerous television programs and series for Lifetime, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, The Food Network, Travel Channel and the History Channel.
From 2000-2001, Ms. Kaplan produced and wrote the television series, Wild Survival, for the Outdoor Life Network, which took her to extreme locations throughout the U.S. to recreate near-death experiences encountered in the backcountry.
Ms. Kaplan’s pilot sitcom, Knock Yourself Out (1999), was a finalist at the American Accolades Screenplay Writing contest. Her screenplay, Crossroads (1997), was selected and produced at
Sally Kaplan
the American Film Institute's prestigious Directing Workshop for Women. Her screenplay, The Man On The Plane (1997), was a finalist at both the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women and the Aperture Foundation. She also assisted in the production of several prize-winning social-issue documentary films for public television in association with artist/filmmaker Julie Gustafson. Her 1995 award-winning short film, Dybbuks And Chicken Soup, screened in numerous film festivals throughout the U.S. Ms. Kaplan has been a recipient of a fellowship for film and video from the Colorado Council on the Arts.
For more information and/or to view trailer, visit: or

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