In 2015/16 Todd Moen captures the reflections of 3 women dealing with breast cancer while out fly fishing on the waters of the Pacific Northwest. The narratives of Barbara Schmierer, Trisha Campbell and Carol LaBranche connect the struggles of wild, native fish with the challenges these women face in their own lives, while also capturing the magic and joy of fly fishing. The film explores life’s tenacity and its fragility. “River of Life” reflects ideas and feelings that most fly fishermen share, yet from a uniquely feminine perspective. Breast cancer is, for the most part, a feminine struggle. But when 1 in 8 women in the United States are afflicted, it touches everyone’s lives. This film connects our human stories with the life and health of rivers, and it reminds us of what is beautiful in the world and how easily it can be lost.
River of Life is dedicated to Carol LaBranche, aged 56, who battled with cancer and passed away October 8, 2016 before the film was finished.
After her first bout with breast cancer, Carol decided to take on a new hobby…fly fishing. This grew to be one of her life’s passions. This also led to the role of secretary with the Oregon Council of Federation of Fly Fishers. She was an instrumental part of getting Umpqua Valley Fly Fishers started in Roseburg, Oregon. Casting for Recovery was the next step in that fly fishing process. Her desire to help others and give back led to starting a retreat in Oregon for women with breast cancer.