On Saturday, Confluence Films premiered and released PROVIDENCE — a film that has been long-awaited with much anticipation. It had been marked on my calendar for months, and I felt no shame about expressing my high level of enthusiasm. The Venturing Angler featured numerous behind-the-scenes photos posts, several trailer posts, an interview with filmmaker, Jim Klug, and a podcast with Camille Egdorf. Admittedly, I walked away from the podcast with Camille stoked beyond belief, not as someone who’s always looking for good content for the Venturing Angler, but as an angler who left the conversation impressed and excited about the trip to Providence Atoll and the film that would be highlighting the trip.
However, there’s a problem with such hype. Often, the enthusiasm and expectations transcend reality and the viewer, listener, fan, et cetera can be left content but disappointed or longing for more. Despite setting myself up for such a situation, PROVIDENCE did not fall short in any regard. In fact, the film achieves a level of excellence that sets a new standard for fly fishing films altogether.
I’m an adventure film junkie, and I’ve watched friends’ jaws drop when they hear a guess at how many times I’ve watched a number of films. My wife can recite lines from numerous films, even though she doesn’t watch them because they are on in the house all the time. Unfortunately, however, very few of these films are fly fishing films. And although I can get easily excited about hundreds of video shorts, most fly fishing films fall short of what’s offered in other industries, whether climbing, surfing, or exploring. With PROVIDENCE, Confluence Films offers what most fly fishing films do not — a captivating and complete film with a compelling story and incredible footage. And in the end, the viewer is left more than satisfied and even inspired.
PROVIDENCE grabs the viewer with several overlapping stories. In 2009, Captain Francis Roucou had just finished a fly fishing expedition to Providence Atoll in the Seychelles and anglers had departed for home when their mothership, the Indian Ocean Explorer, was raided by Somali pirates. Captain Roucou was held for captive for 88 days and mothership and liveaboard operations faced a moratorium, ending all operations for years. In the film, Captain Roucou and Flycastaway’s Gerhard Laubscher and Tim Babich detail the event in all of its terrifying detail.
Paralleling this is the story of fly fishing the Seychelles and Providence Atoll — an impressive and interesting story in its own right. In the 1990s, Gerhard Laubscher, Keith Rose-Innes, and Arno Matthee began outfitting operations to these remote areas of the Indian Ocean and consequently unveiled to the world the most extraordinary and thrilling fly fishing opportunities in the world. These anglers first had to discover these waters as fly anglers and did so with a 2.5 month expedition to uncover what the flats had to offer. The exploratory nature of these expeditions and the out-of-this-world angling that was truly discovered is a story that surely inspires all anglers.
And finally, PROVIDENCE looks at the journey of angler, Camille Egdorf, who has certainly lived a unique life, having split her youth between Montana and Alaska, nearly constantly exposed to some of the best fly fishing in the world. In the film she is seen as a toddler with her hand on a fly reel and as a teenager spending her summers guiding at her family’s tent camp in Alaska. In PROVIDENCE, viewers follow Camille’s journey to Providence Atoll along with Gerhard Laubscher and crew as they return to this destination for the first time after the events of 2009. And because so many years have passed, the crew in many ways are exploring these flats again for the first time.
The captivating nature of these stories grabs hold of the viewer and keeps them on edge in a way that I have not seen in any other fly fishing film. Certainly I can give high praise to a number of films for a range of reasons (and I have), but PROVIDENCE is different. Perhaps this is so because every aspect of the stories and the journey are extraordinary.
And just when you think you can’t be any more engaged, the anglers finally reach Providence Atoll and start fishing. Giant trevally, bluefin trevally, big bonefish, triggerfish, bumpheaded parrotfish, barracuda and a number of grouper species are just some of the species targeted on flats that no one has ever walked or fished before, and for saltwater lovers, the action couldn’t be better, with drone and underwater footage grabbing every aspect of the fishing.
It’s not only difficult to live up to hype, but it can also often be a challenge to describe a film that meets and exceeds every conceivable hope and expectation. So, in short, PROVIDENCE not only masterfully reaches the highest level of excellence, but it advances fly fishing film as a genre to a new territory. Bravo.
To check out PROVIDENCE from Confluence Films on Vimeo, please click here.
And to check out more from Confluence Films, please click here.
– Tim Harden