UYA Films Announces Commercial Release of 'Tarpon'

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The first of the modern fishing films, the recently restored "Tarpon" features early guides and anglers as they fly fish for tarpon in the wilderness of the Florida Keys. The film captures the essence of the sport in dramatic footage and in the appearance and commentary of popular authors Thomas McGuane, Jim Harrison and Richard Brautigan. Colorful scenes of Key West from another era - with treasure hunters, smugglers, hippies and eccentrics - are background to stunning cinematography and tarpon fishing at its finest. Jimmy Buffet composed original music for the film.

This long-lost gem of a film has acquired cult status in the fly fishing world

Today UYA Films announced the first commercial U.S. release of the 1974 film "Tarpon," which was shot in 1973 in Key West, Florida. The first of the modern fishing films, the recently restored "Tarpon" features early guides and anglers as they fly fish for tarpon in the wilderness of the Florida Keys. The film captures the essence of the sport in dramatic footage and in the appearance and commentary of popular authors Thomas McGuane, Jim Harrison and Richard Brautigan. Colorful scenes of Key West from another era - with treasure hunters, smugglers, hippies and eccentrics - are background to stunning cinematography and tarpon fishing at its finest. Jimmy Buffet composed original music for the film.

Tom Brokaw recently said this about the film: "'Tarpon' is a timeless and beautifully executed film about life, sport and culture. You'll be moved, amused, outraged and, most of all, entertained."

The film was born from a 1972 visit to the Florida Keys by filmmaker Christian Odasso and Guy de la Valdéne, an avid angler who already had a few years of experience in fly fishing for Keys tarpon. Enraptured by the aesthetics and ethics of the catch-and-release fishing, Odasso paired with la Valdéne to co-direct the film.With a mostly French crew, the shoot took approximately seven weeks and the resulting film was edited in Paris. Saved by the filmmaker's daughter from a dripping barn in the Normandy countryside where it lay untouched for the last 35 years, the film was recently restored and digitized for DVD by Guy de la Valdéne.

"This long-lost gem of a film has acquired cult status in the fly fishing world," says author Carl Hiaasen, "and with good reason. It has the most breathtaking footage of the tarpon-stalking experience that you'll ever see. Like the fish itself, this is a work of art."

While the footage focuses on the magnificence of tarpon, the directors chose to interview many of the top guides and conservationists of the era and include their observations and concerns about the future of the fish they pursued. The film's message about the importance of releasing fish was far ahead of its time and prescient in highlighting the increasing pressure on fish by sportsmen, tourists and boaters. It reinforced an ethic among thousands who managed to get a pirated copy of the film in the 35 years since its making. The sharp contrasts drawn by the film -- perhaps best exemplified by a scene in which tourists recoil in fascination from party boat crew members clubbing and throwing sharks and sport fish into barrels - made it difficult for the producers to find a distributor when the film was completed. Most distributors expressed reluctance to work with the film unless the producers removed scenes like this which highlighted the wasteful practices of the era.

Besides including some of the only footage of Richard Brautigan, the cult 60s poet and novelist, "Tarpon" also features commentary by legendary guides Woody Sexton, Steve Huff, and Gil Drake, as well as Page Brown, an ardent Keys conservationist.

"Tarpon" (53 minutes, $34.95) is available on DVD from The Book Mailer: http://www.thebookmailer.com or 800-874-4171.

About UYA Films: Christian Odasso began his documentary filmmaking career in Paris, France. Initially a cinematographer, he worked extensively with Francois Reichenbach and together they won numerous awards, including the main prizes at Cannes (the Palme d'Or and the Prix Special du Jury), Berlin (L'Ours d'Or), Locarno (the Voile d'Or), the Prix Louis Deluc and an Academy Award. His films have had worldwide distribution in festivals, theatres and on television. He has also done extensive work in short and long format commercials and promotional films, for Dior, Moet- Hennessy, Perrier, Air France, Club Med, Renault and Citroën.

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