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can the lives and deaths of three teenage environmentalists save one of america’s last wild rivers?



Four years after losing their teenage children in a tragic plane crash, three mothers embark on a thirty-six mile boat journey down the Gila River and into the Gila Wilderness in Southwestern New Mexico. Their three kids, avid environmentalists, went up in a small plane while studying the effects of a devastating forest fire when the pilot lost control in high winds. Passionate advocates for the wild, the children’s lives were inextricably linked to the Gila. As the mothers travel on kayaks down the river with varying levels of outdoor experience, their physical journey mirrors a journey of their souls through extreme grief as they pass through the heart of the Gila. What will they learn about themselves, their children’s legacy, and the importance of wild river systems to the spiritual health of humanity in a world where wild places are rapidly disappearing?

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From New Mexico documentary filmmaker David Garcia comes the story of three grief-stricken mothers seeking solace and hope on the waters of one of America’s last wild rivers. Four years and multiple river trips in the making, Hearts on the Gila is a lush cinematic river level journey down one of America’s great natural treasures.


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We are in the final stages of the film process and need your help in funding for color finishing, sound mix, music composition, song licensing, mastering and marketing.

We expect Hearts on the Gila to convey all the reasons to protect those things we hold most precious: our children, our wild places, and our future.”
— Patrice Mutchnick