Pacific University history professor Rick Jobs served as the historical consultant and advisor in the new NW Documentary film, “Voyagers Without Trace,” directed by Ian McCluskey.
According to Jobs, he was asked to be a part of the documentary in the late production process over a year ago.
“McCluskey wanted a better understanding of the historical contexts of the voyage between newlyweds Geneviève and Bernard, and their friend Antoine,” said Jobs. “I was recommended by a colleague from Lewis and Clark and through an email chain, Ian and I started talking about the film since early last September.”
With a background in European and French studies and knowledge about the transnational history and history of travel and people, Jobs provided primary and secondary research in “Voyagers Without Trace.”
According to the Facebook page of “Voyagers Without Trace,” the adventure of the trio began in 1938 launching from Green River, Wyoming and ended three months later in Lee’s Ferry Arizona.
Their goal was to be the first to kayak and film the great white water rivers of the American West, the mighty Green and Colorado.
The trio documented their travels in 16mm color film, making their photography and production skills ahead of their time. The first movie to be filmed in color was “The Wizard of Oz” which was still in the process of being filmed doing this voyage.
“Since I came into the production process late, being able to be behind the scenes seeing the processes of screening and critiquing sessions was really interesting to watch,” said Jobs. “I really enjoyed being apart of it.”
After watching a rough cut of the documentary six months ago, Jobs continued to help find information, develop points, provide McCluskey with advice and helped him further figure out his relationship with his project.
While McCluskey is the center of the film,Jobs noted there are three intertwining narrative aspects.
The first is a historical aspect, combining landscapes, nature and scenery of the American West with film excerpts from the historical dimensions of 1938.
The second aspect of the documentary is the contemporary outdoor, nature recreation whitewater dimension and the third is McCluskey pursing the story, literally retracing the trio’s routes, journey and reliving each of their stops down the river interviewing elderly people who have met them.
“It is not for sure nor fixed yet, but we are hoping to bring Ian and the film to Pacific in the first week of December,” Jobs said.
Even though the film has already premiered Oct. 22 at OMSI, Jobs plans to continue his research.
“There are a lot of dimensions of the three individuals from 1938 which aren’t all shown in the 80 minute film,” said Jobs. “I anticipate continuing that research and building on that.”
Depending upon what types of research turns up for Jobs, there is a possibility of creating a book or writing an article about his findings.