KCET.org Expands 'Departures L.A. River'

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Los Angeles - March 10, 2011 - This month kcet.org expands its Departures: L.A. River experience, where the Los Angeles River comes alive through an intimate collection of interactive panoramas, first-person interviews, mapping tools and archival imagery, showing the incredible diversity and history of the Los Angeles River.

"This is one of the most comprehensive online documentaries about the Los Angeles River," says Juan Devis, executive producer of Departures. "The Departures project exemplifies KCET's potential for innovation and increased community engagement as we rethink public television."

The initial scope of the project included environmental lessons and hands-on multimedia training for youth, as well as community engagement events that captured the nuanced subjective story of the river.


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The expanded production of Departures L.A. River includes six new chapters - with over four hours of video content - launching throughout the month of March:

Chapter 1: "From the Headwaters to the Sepulveda Basin" - available now - focuses on the history of the river and L.A.'s first residents, the Gabrieliños, who lived and worked in what is now the Sepulveda basin.

Chapter 2: "Los Feliz" - available now - follows the river as it winds pas Griffith Park and under the Los Feliz bridge, transforming from a concrete channel into a waterway rich with wildlife and vegetation.

Chapter 3: "Elysian Valley" - available now - reveals the wildlife still depending on the L.A. River today.

Chapter 4: "Yangna" - available now - looks at the history of another early American Indian community, the Yangna.

Chapter 5: "Downtown" - launching March 15 - follows the L.A. River's journey through the heart of Los Angeles.

Chapter 6: "Compton Creek to Long Beach" - launching March 22 - explores the Marine Biological Reserve, a three-acre natural wetland habitat that has been restored to mimic the original river.

Departures: L.A. River takes online visitors into often neglected and nearly forgotten portions of the river, spanning more than 50 miles of terrain, concrete and flowing water. The project, originally launched in 2009, was produced by KCET in collaboration with Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR), a non-profit organization founded in 1986 to protect and restore the river, and with participation from students at Los Angeles Leadership Academy, a social justice charter school that prepares urban secondary students to succeed in life. The River Revitalization Corporation (RRC), a non-profit corporation charged with promoting responsible redevelopment and revitalization of properties in the L.A. River corridor, is partnering with KCET on the expanded installments to produce resource maps for locating the many activities that take place along the river - from fly fishing to kayaking, biking, and more.

Community involvement also takes place offline with Departures StoryShare, an ongoing series of community recording events aimed at capturing the stories of those who live and work in the neighborhoods featured in "L.A. River."  The next opportunity to participate in Departures StoryShare will be on Saturday, April 30, from 9:00 a.m. - noon at the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area, as part of the City of Los Angeles' L.A. River Day of Service; and as part of FoLAR's 22nd Annual La Gran Limpieza, the Great L.A. River Cleanup. Event locations and information can be found at kcet.org/departures.

Departures: L.A. River is produced for KCET by Juan Devis, KCET Director of Production and Program Development, and co-produced by Justin Cram, in collaboration with FoLAR.

Departures is sponsored by Adobe Youth Voices, The Boeing Company and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Historical Images on the website appear courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library, SPARC and Metabolic Studios.

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