Viva La Verde

Viva La Verde

Film Session(s)

16 minutes, United States, 2017



Viva La Verde! unveils the value of and the threats to the upper Verde River, a little-known and under-appreciated river supporting some of the best remaining riparian habitat in the Southwest. Flowing diagonally across central Arizona, the Verde River provides 190+ miles of meandering sanctuary to life in the harsh desert. The only surviving river in Arizona that flows year-round. The Verde supports 15 species protected by the Endangered Species Act.

The film exposes the crucial role of rivers to human and wildlife communities by weaving together hand-drawn animations, an original soundtrack, and original artwork. Interviews with local river activists along with footage of wildlife and the river corridor reveal the extraordinary ecological, historical, recreational, and economic importance of the Verde.

In his directorial debut, independent filmmaker Hugh Denno collaborates with local Verde River expert Gary Beverly to interview artists, educators, scientists, Native American leaders & elders, ranchers, and river enthusiasts and to pose important questions about the future of our natural resources. Ominously, Arizona water law allows the destruction of rivers and springs because of its foundational premise that groundwater and surface water are not hydrologically connected. Planned groundwater pumping for new development will dry the river and harm wildlife.

The film concludes by suggesting that the traditional ethical values of the Yavapai-Apache offer modern-day keys to sustainable living. First and foremost, the Yavapai-Apache tell us that because water gives us life, water must be shared, and never wasted. They say we must see ourselves as stewards of the land and river, not as owners. That as long as the river flows life is good.

Long live the Verde River! Viva la Verde!


Director(s): Hugh Denno

Producer(s): .