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Independent Film

The Return Of The Salmon


Based in Alaska at the time of the “The Return Of The Salmon” project, Christel Veraart writes music inspired by landscapes. Her work is used in dance and film productions. In 2015 she completed “Polar Suite”, an orchestral suite funded by the Rasmuson Foundation. Besides composing, Christel has performed throughout Europe and the Americas. From the Netherlands, Christel studied classical piano, voice and orchestration. For more information, please visit


The theme of The Return of the Salmon is the final stage of the salmon’s lifelong odyssey. The salmon’s single-mindedness and determination drives them forward as they deal with challenges during their migration to their natal rivers in the vast Alaskan wilderness. Their epic struggle highlights the key role of salmon play in their ecosystem and reflects the cyclical nature of life.


Christel Veraart initiated the co-production because one of the requirements for her Rasmuson Foundation award was to compose a score to accompany a video. Prior to this Tim was responding to a request from Rex Features to submit video content after his editorial photography of Alaska’s wilderness was widely published by national media titles in the UK. For both artists the co-production was conceived to help raise brand awareness.

The creative brief for the production was to synthesise music and visual storytelling poetically. Hence, a version would be produced without a voice-over.


We worked together to flesh out the concept and fuse the need to raise brand awareness with a poetic story, music and visuals. We eventually casted, produced, scored, edited, and delivered the “The Return of the Salmon” film.



Creative Development

Concept and strategy, scriptwriting, and storyboard.



Shot list, scouting, and logistics. Shoot schedule, location plan, and production schedule.



Produce, direct, shoot on location. Digital workflow captures high quality video and audio.



Composing original soundtrack. Voiceover recording. Video editing and sound mixing. Colour grading and final assembly.

Misty Sunrise In Tongass National Forest, Alaska by Tim Plowden
The Return Of The Salmon - Award-winning nature documentary by Tim Plowden
Creek, Tongass National Forest, Alaska by Tim Plowden
Alaskan Pink Salmon by Tim Plowden
Spawned Out Salmon, Tongass National Forest, Alaska by Tim Plowden
Coastal Brown Bear, Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska by Tim Plowden

I learned that besides being a wonderful photographer/videographer, Tim has a background in project management. This was incredibly helpful and provided us with a framework that I’m certain prevented all kinds of obstacles later on… Articulate and always open to suggestions, even the ones that did tread upon his field of expertise, Tim was always the first to share a positive and encouraging thought… It has been an absolute joy to work with Tim and to discover how well our work complements each other. We share a similar sense of poetry in our works and when connecting Tim’s footage to my music for the first time, it was as if the two had always belonged together.


Creative Concept

This was a really awesome, collaborative process between Tim Plowden and Christel Veraart. We developed the concept and following that, Tim Plowden crafted a script. We then storyboarded the script and moved into other activities.

Video Shoot

Tim Plowden shot most of the Pacific salmon footage in one day during his first experience of a big salmon run on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska. We captured the trials of the wild salmon as they returned to spawn in their thousands to the watershed of Tongass National Forest.  Additional stills photography and timelapse sequences were captured throughout Tim Plowden’s month in Alaska.


Creative development took about 2 weeks. Pre-production and production took 2 weeks. And editing, scoring and soundtrack recording, voiceover recording, colour grading, and finishing took another 6 weeks.

Production Specs

Cameras: 2
Shot in: HD
Shot on: Canon EOS
Lenses: Canon EF
Shoot Days: 5+
Location: Alaska, USA

Final Cut

Check out the final piece:

Distribution and Marketing

The Return Of The Salmon has been screened at film festivals in America, Europe and Asia where it won two film awards. The video was distributed in the November/December 2015 edition of Wildlife Photographic Magazine to accompany Tim’s feature article, Alaska Through The Lens; broadcast in a marine biology segment of Kilimangiaro, a weekly TV show hosted on RAI in Italy; used by GMA in the Philippines on the long-running and award-winning, weekend infotainment list and lifestyle program Ang Pinaka…; used in “Salmon: A Journey Home” for conservation education in Canada by Weigl Publishers for their media enhanced “Nature’s Great Journeys” book series; and, screened at the launch event of International Year of the Salmon in Vancouver in 2018.

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International Year of the Salmon Case Study

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