As we begin a new year, there’s something more that Turlock can look forward to celebrating, Turlock Irrigation District’s 125th anniversary. TID was formed on June 6, 1887, as California’s first irrigation district. Much has happened since those first years that brought a reliable water supply to the region, from providing power to customers in 1923, to becoming a leader in renewable energy today.
Through the years TID has celebrated their milestones with various activities and commemorative items. In 1937, for the 50th, Turlock saw a 60 foot replica of Don Pedro Dam built at Turlock High School’s football field complete with fireworks flowing down to depict water flowing over the dam. A jubilee was held featuring an address by California governor Frank Merriam followed by a whole week of activities including a parade, picnic, supper, and vaudeville shows. In 1987, for the 100th anniversary, TID commissioned a full length historical book by Alan Paterson called “Land, Water and Power” that cost $45,660 according to TID Board minutes.
TID began planning their recognition for the 125th anniversary back in 2010 when they decided to have a TID film made. At that time, the City of Turlock had finished their Turlock Centennial documentary film the year before, which went on to win 9 awards. TID selected the same local vendor, The Creation Lab, to work on the TID film, “The Irrigationist.”
The Creation Lab already had a wealth of knowledge on the community and history of TID after working on the Turlock documentary.
“That’s how this came about, Dustin and I both said man, there was quite a big section of the irrigation district story in there, woven in, it’d be great to do a whole documentary on this,” said The Creation Lab’s Michael Everett, who produced the TID film. “People should know TID’s history.”
TID Public Information Division Manager Michelle Reimers explained how the film project was officially started.
“At the time the General Manager, Larry Weis and Board President, Rob Santos had approved the project,” stated Reimers. “The cost is $219,200 for the entire movie and has been paid over three years with the final payment in 2012. The cost has come out of the General Manager’s Administration Budget.”
The Irrigationist will be shown for free to TID customers on February 25th at 2pm and 7pm while copies of the film will be available for purchase at TID.
As the months approach closing in on the June 6, 2012 date that will mark TID’s 125th Anniversary, customers and others will continue to learn more about the District’s rich history throughout the year. TID plans on incorporating the 125th anniversary theme into their public appearances at local events and on their marketing materials.
“I am not one who is big on celebrations, but I do think it is fitting and appropriate to honor an institution that has stood the test of time for 125 years,” said TID Board President Michael Frantz. “TID has weathered droughts, floods, economic booms and bust cycles, and is still following its original mission from 125 years ago: to collectively bring opportunity and value to its ratepayer owners by investing in infrastructure that they could not do on their own.”
TID Director Rob Santos explained that movie watchers will see that the Turlock Irrigation District is more than an irrigation district… it is a symbol of hope.
Santos states, “125 years ago, five men gathered to launch TID. They had no money, no organizational framework and no experience in running an irrigation district. But what they did have was hope and a vision for the future. Hope that someday water would come to the dry lands of the San Joaquin valley and turn it into a Garden of Eden. Hope that a divided group of farmers would finally unite and agree to fund and build a canal system. And hope that their future and their children’s future would forever change for the better.”
"TID has become that symbol of hope. Hope that we can accomplish a lot through faith and hard work," said Santos. "And in the economic times like we have today…we can thank God we have the Turlock Irrigation District and the icon that it stands for.
The Irrigationist is a 62-minute documentary film about TID and the dream of irrigation becoming a reality. TID customers can view this remarkable video at one of two showings on Feb. 25, 2012. Details are below.
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012
SHOW TIMES: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
W HERE: Turlock Community Theatre,
1574 E. Canal Dr.
TICKETS: Admission limited to Turlock Irrigation District customers. Tickets are free and can be picked up at TID offices in Turlock, Ceres and Patterson. Call TID at 883-8300 for more info. Tickets are limited and will be provided on a first come, first served basis. DVDs of the film will be available for purchase at cost from TID in the weeks following the showings.
The Making of “The Irrigationist”
The process took the whole two years to discuss content, write a script, and pull the images together to create The Irrigationist. Once approved, Micheal Everett secured Frank C. Schroeder, a movie maker from back east, to write the script. Schroeder made a trip to Turlock and received a guided tour by Alan Paterson, author of the historical book. Once the script was finished, TID fine tuned it and had Alan Paterson make sure everything was historically correct. Paterson is the main interview for the film while Turlock Historian Scott Atherton, TID Board Member Rob Santos, and a few others are featured as well.
It took a year to put images to the script which included aerial shots, reenactments, old pictures, cineflex aerials, sound effects, and orchestration. Michael Everett wrote about 7 songs for the project and also created the sound effects.
The film was recorded using a RED camera, the same camera brand used on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and The Hobbit.
“This is definitely PBS quality. We didn’t do it for PBS, but the quality is definitely there,” said Producer Everett. “I think the story is there, the production is there; but it’s according to whether they want to show it or not. I think the thing about this is that the average person, anybody really, can sit there and watch this story and come away and say wow, we’re lucky to be in this district.”
“I am extremely pleased with, and very proud of, the work that Michael Everett and Dustin Veneman have done in creating a movie on the history of the Turlock Irrigation District,” said Santos. “Through the efforts of them and many others at TID, we have brought to light the history of the Turlock Irrigation District and the true meaning of what TID has become. This movie will have a positive lasting impact for many generations to come.”
A film trailer was just released to preview and announce The Irrigationist. View the trailer below and make sure to get your tickets for the February 25th showing.