Anonymous street artists painted a dotted line and scissors on the defunct Matilija Dam in 2011. The dam has been slated for removal for years, but additional studies are being conducted to decide how best to deal with the trapped sediment and downstream water supply. Matilija Dam is owned by the County of Ventura, California in a scene from DAMNATION. Photo: Matt Stoecker


Matt Stoecker
Producer / Underwater Photographer

Matt Stoecker is a biologist and photographer focused on restoring rivers and wild fish populations through his company Stoecker Ecological. His early passion for trout fishing evolved into a deep love for the underwater world and, eventually, the desire to capture it on film and share with people above water. Matt has worked on more than 50 fish-passage projects, including the removal of several obsolete dams. He is on the Technical Advisory Committee for the Matilija Dam removal project and works as a river ecologist with the Marine Science Institute at U.C. Santa Barbara. Matt is also the director of Beyond Searsville Dam, a nonprofit coalition advocating the removal of Stanford University’s unnecessary and destructive Searsville Dam. In 2009, along with project partners, Matt received the Riparian Challenge Award from the American Fisheries Society for the removal of steelhead migration barriers on Carpinteria Creek.

Matt has helped produce or provide underwater footage for various films including Horse Creek Damolition – Restoring Southern Steelhead With Dam Removal (2007), Watershed Revolution (2011) and Southern California Steelhead: Against All Odds (2013).

Travis Rummel
Director / Producer

Over the past ten years Travis has honed his filmmaking craft from the ground up. Partnering with Ben Knight in 2004, the two became known for their award-winning short films within the tiny genre of fly fishing. In 2007, Red Gold, their first feature documentary, was released to critical acclaim and helped create awareness of the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Firm believers in the power of film to effect positive change, Travis and Ben continue to gravitate towards environmental storytelling. Travis was born in New Jersey and received his B.A. from Colorado College. He lives with his wife Melissa in Denver, Colorado.

Ben Knight
Director / Editor

Ben, a self-taught photographer and filmmaker, jumped ship after a decade at a daily newspaper just before the industry began cutting back and rolled the dice with his friend Travis, starting a small production company called Felt Soul Media. Ben was raised in North Carolina, but has spent the past 17 years in Telluride, Colorado, where he spends the majority of his time in a dimly lit room obsessing over how best to tell a story with images and sound. Felt Soul Media has a neatly organized pile of awards on display in a tiny closet in Ben’s office.

Beda Calhoun
Associate Producer

Beda is the founder of brick+mortar productions, a Colorado-based marketing and production company that plans and executes release campaigns in partnership with filmmakers and brands. For the past three years, Beda’s focus has been on DamNation, its distribution strategy and marketing — and spreading the message of the film to the largest audience possible.