For Father's Day this year, we're shining a spotlight on Nathan Dappen, creator of Day's Edge Productions and an award winning filmmaker. This week he debuted a new short film, The Passage, about his efforts to finally finish the epic canoe trip his father started forty three years earlier. To complete and capture this amazing adventure, Dappen needed paddles, camping gear, cameras, and of course, DJI drones. You can see the full film below, and read some words from Dappen about the history that inspired it. It's a moving and visually stunning piece, a story of growing up, growing older, and the journeys that define us.
As told by Nathan Dappen -
On June 14, 1974, my grandma Glady dropped off her two sons at a ferry in the Puget Sound. Decades later, she told me that as she watched them disappear into the fog, she wondered if she’d ever see her boys again.
My then-21-year-old father, Alan and his 19-year-old brother and best friend, Andy had been planning this trip for years. Before entering what they remember calling “the real world,” they wanted one last big adventure – an experience that was truly unknown. They wanted something beautiful that they could share as brothers and with their girlfriends at the time, two strong women who would become my mother and aunt. And so, after finishing University, they built their own canoes in a Washington state garage, and, against all advice, launched them into the Pacific. They set set out with an audacious goal: became the first people in their knowledge to canoe the entire Inland Passage from Vancouver, British Colombia to Juneau, Alaska.
For two months, they journeyed through the beauty and abundance of the Pacific Northwest. Traveling past thousands of island in a vast maze of water filled with Orca and Humpback whales. My parents and Andy encountered adventure after adventure, an experience that cemented their relationship for life.
After traveling almost 1000 miles, the crew arrived in Ketchikan, Alaska where they decided to end their journey. It is clear from Andy’s journal however, that both him and my father felt like the trip was incomplete. They had stopped almost 300 miles short of their goal in Juneau. But life was calling. For now, greatest adventure of their lives was over.
My brother and I grew up paddling those canoes, fishing on them in the Pacific Northwest and exploring Eastern rivers like the Shenandoah. They always hung in our parents’ garage and the 1974 adventure become legend in our family, shaping our how we saw ourselves, and who we wanted to become.
In 1974 our dad and Andy were young adults looking forward to the limitless possibilities of their lives. Now, 43 years later, they are near the ends of their careers, with more behind them than ahead. But, they still had at least one more adventure left in them.
In June 2017, my brother and I, along with our father and uncle Andy, renovated those old canoes, packed them with fishing gear and filming and photography equipment, and, as fathers, sons and brothers, launched them into the Inland Passage to complete the last leg of that 1974 journey that shaped us all so profoundly.
The Passage is a cinematic short film and feature article about the dreams of aging brothers, fathers and sons, and the timeless impact that adventures and wild places have on our identities. We hope it will take audiences through time on a nostalgic journey of self discovery in one of North America’s wildest landscapes.