On Wednesday August 2nd, 1769 Father Juan Crespi accompanying the first European land expedition through California came upon the Los Angeles River. The river was the sole source of water for the city's 105,000 residence in 1905. The Los Angeles River was unpredictable and unstable, changing its path by many miles in any given year. Once William Mulholland diverted the Owens River to the city of Los Angeles the river was been left to rot as symbol of urban decay.
Environmental writer J.J. Price has said, "Paving the Los Angeles River is implicated in most of the problems Los Angeles is famous for; severe environmental degradation, extreme social inequities, and water imperialism. 'The River Under the City of Angels' is an optimistic look at the revitalization of the Los Angeles River. The documentary features a variety of interviews including poet Lewis MacAdams, founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River, Councilman Ed Reyes, artists and many others.
Fred Kaplan walked the banks of the Los Angeles River for 90 days and returned with heart-warming stories that illustrate the magic of the river and the people who are revitalizing it. The river that gave birth to the city was transformed into the dumping ground of the cities in effort to control floods. The revitalization of the river isn't only about the river it is about re-visioning the future of Los Angeles.
Beautifully videotaped the river is seen as a rich vibrant environment bursting with life.