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'The Buffalo Flows' to premiere on AETN

"The Buffalo Flows," a one-hour documentary showcasing America's first national river, will premiere on the Arkansas Educational Television Network Sunday, March 8, at 5 p.m.

"The Buffalo Flows" is the first of many programs AETN will present in conjunction with Ken Burn's next film, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," which debuts in September. It is written and produced by two-time Emmy award winning filmmaker Larry Foley, professor of journalism at the University of Arkansas.

The Buffalo River begins in the Ozark Mountains, flowing through hills and rock framed valleys a place people fought to preserve.

"There's not just one thing that makes the Buffalo so special, so unique," Foley said. "When the Battle for the Buffalo' was won, protecting the river from being dammed, we saved a national natural treasure.

"People know of the river as a canoe stream, and it's one of the best. But, the Buffalo is so much more, and the film captures exactly what it is we protected. This story is about the bluffs and the trees, the flowers and the birds and the giant elk. It's about hiking and floating and camping and fishing. And, it's also about the people who make their home in Buffalo River country year round, and have for generations."

Academy Award winner Ray McKinnon of Little Rock, an actor and film director, narrates. Trey Marley of Fayetteville captures the river's magnificent beauty over four seasons, while Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker Dale Carpenter, also a UA professor, lends his talent as the film's editor.

"Save the Buffalo' was the cry," Foley said. "They won that battle and federal protection.

"Today there is a future that mirrors the past because the Buffalo flows."

Folk singer Jimmy Driftwood called the Buffalo River, "Arkansas's gift to the nation America's gift to the world."

"The Buffalo Flows" will repeat Thursday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m.; Monday, March 16, at 1 a.m.; Monday, March 23, at 9 p.m.; and Sunday, March 29, at 1 p.m.

Funding for "The Buffalo Flows" was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History.

Foley, an accomplished documentary filmmaker, has earned many national and international awards, including an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, four Emmy nominations, first place awards from the Broadcast Education Association, WorldFest Houston, the Aurora Film Festival, and the International Film and Video Festival. He specializes in writing and producing films on cultural history.

Foley's PBS credits include "Saving the Eagles," "The Lost Squadron" and "When Lightning Struck: Saga of an American Warplane." In 2003, "The Forgotten Expedition" and "It Started Here: Early Arkansas and the Louisiana Purchase" were distributed nationally to public TV stations by the National Educational Telecommunications Association.

"The National Parks: America's Best Idea" is a 12-hour, six-part documentary series, directed by Burns and co-produced with his longtime colleague, Dayton Duncan, who also wrote the script. It is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. As such, it follows in the tradition of Burns' exploration of other American inventions, such as baseball and jazz.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (www.aetn.org) provides lifelong learning opportunities, improves and enhances Arkansans' lives and celebrates the unique culture of Arkansas through its programming and services. AETN's digital and analog transmitters and numerous cable system connections give it statewide reach.

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