‘Dry Times’ looks at impact of drought on Lake Tahoe
Drought. The word makes many Tahoe locals cringe — it’s something that has heavily impacted the Basin’s economy in recent years; but Alex Gregory and Anurag Kumar, both age 24, are the first to make a feature-length movie about it. The pair’s newest project, entitled “Dry Times,” is a story about the California drought and its direct effect on skiers and the local economy in Lake Tahoe.
“I was living in Tahoe at the time and knew this was a big issue. I moved to Tahoe in the 2014-15 winter, which was one of the worst Tahoe has ever seen. At Heavenly it only snowed a few times.
“I noticed how it affected people in the area and thought this would be a good story to tell about Tahoe and how not getting snow in the area affects the economy,” Gregory said.
The two-person production focuses on multiple business owners around the lake and how they adapted to the drought.
Featured are South Shore’s Rock House Ski & Snowboard Rental and Verde Mexican Rotisserie in Meyers, in addition to North, East and West Shore companies.
But the film doesn’t focus solely on local businesses — Gregory and Kumar also interviewed local skiers about their adaptation to low snow levels.
“It’s a hybrid between a ski movie and a documentary,” Gregory said.
While a large portion of the film focuses on the drought’s effect on Lake Tahoe, it’s the partners’ goal that the film alerts people to California’s drought situation as a whole.
“We’re hoping that first and foremost it just raises awareness,” Kumar added.
Fifteen to 20 percent will focus on the broader scope of the drought according to Gregory.
“Right now in Southern California, there’s been a big wildfire problem throughout the summer. We’re interviewing a firefighter and maybe another scientist in this area specifically, and we’d be incorporating that into the movie as well,” he explained.
The two also spoke with meteorologists, and intend for part of the film to center on weather trends.
Childhood friends Gregory and Kumar currently reside in Los Angeles and had to manage time wisely in order to create the movie.
“We both have jobs. We’re both normal people trying to get into filmmaking, so time management is a huge skill we’re both learning. (Gregory) has to get b-roll shots. All of our free time is pretty much going toward our project, and we have to be really strategic about it. Is it worth it to drive eight hours from L.A. to Tahoe to do something I can do remotely?” Kumar said.
The duo is currently finishing the filming process and putting final touches on the trailer, which will be released in approximately two weeks.
The film itself is due out in January 2017. No venue is yet scheduled to premier the movie.
He and Kumar will be launching the official “Dry Times” website, http://www.dry-times.com, on the same day they premier the trailer. The site will be live in approximately two weeks, offering additional information about the film.