A new film highlighting the 1980s battle to stop the iconic Franklin River from being dammed is set to commence production this year.

The film, Dark Water: Battle on the Franklin is the story of young Tasmanian Oliver Cassidy as he follows in the footsteps of activists who tried to stop the damming by Tasmania’s Hydro-Electric Commission in the 1980s.

Cassidy embarks on a solo rafting pilgrimage down the Franklin River, retracing the extraordinary story of the seven-year campaign, which remains known as Australia’s most significant environment movement.

The film aims to investigate why this campaign was so successful, when so many others failed, and it is guaranteed to be a must-see for all environment enthusiasts.

It also highlights the lessons that can be applied to other non-violent movements today.

Cassidy said the film “will not only help audiences understand how it is possible to win an environmental movement but how they can be part of that win.”

The documentary will be directed and co-written by Kasimir Burgess (The Leunig Fragments), co-written by Claire Smith (ABC Catalyst, Ask the Doctor), and produced by Chris Kamen (Small is Beautiful).

The team have secured interviews with key players to shed light on the inner workings of the campaign, including Bob Brown, Dick Smith, Alice Hungerford, Lisa Yates, Kevin Keirnan, Jim Everett, and Geoff Law. Historical analysis will be provided by Professor Clive Hamilton.

About The Battle

The Franklin campaign peaked in the summer of 1982/3 with a three-month blockade aimed at stopping construction of the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission’s controversial Gordon-below-Franklin dam. Over 1,200 were arrested on the river and tens of thousands attended rallies all over the country.

As the story went global, international celebrities weighed in providing crucial legitimacy and moral support. Eventually, Bob Hawke was elected as Prime Minister and announced the project would be abandoned — a decision that the Tasmanian government fought all the way to the High Court, and lost.

What Can You Do?

A crowdfunder is currently being held to raise funding to assist with filming. The campaign will run from February 11 until March 5.

Visit the website to find out how you can help.