CH-08. Holy (Un) Holy River

USA, Feature Documentary, 2016, 60 min

What starts as a traditional expedition film at the source of the Ganges River high in the Himalayas becomes something else as Boulder co-directors Pete McBride and Jake Norton journey downriver. Although once celebrated for its purity, the Ganges now carries contaminants from its glacial headwaters where the snow contains zinc from industrial emissions. Downriver, the river is dammed 16 times to provide hydroelectric power. Water is diverted for agriculture and other uses, and the 500 million people in the Ganges basin further pollute the river. Yet the Hindu faithful believe they can cleanse away their sins by bathing in this “holy” water, which carries the unfiltered drainage of a population twice the size of the U.S.

Directed by Pete McBride and Jake Norton

Boulder Premiere

Winner at the Banff Mountain Film Festival

TalkBack following the film at the First Presbyterian Church

Preceded by:


Nepal/UK, Short Documentary, 2016, 19 min


In 2015, a terrible earthquake devastated the Langtang Valley in Nepal. A year later, Nima Gyalmu, a woman of extraordinary strength, dignity and humor, rebuilds her house in this remote and shattered place while trying to come to terms with her new world.

Directed by Asmita Shrish and Gavin Carter

Colorado Premiere

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Venues: The Boulder Theater; First Presbyterian Church, 1820 15th Street; Boulder High; eTown Hall; Longmont Museum’s Stewart Auditorium