A Labor of Love: David Nienow and the Table Rocks
The Table Rocks in Central Point inspire hiking, environmental conservation, and, for David Nienow, film.
“For me the Table Rocks are an iconic image and symbol of the Rogue Valley,” says the local filmmaker. “I feel that they are next to Crater Lake and the Oregon Caves as one of the best natural wonders of our region and that represents the Rogue Valley. And they have a very unique history in the areas of their geology, biology, and cultural history that is also extensive.”
Nienow first started as a professional fitness model photographer. When taking care of his father forced him to take a break from his job, he started thinking about what he needed to do next in his career. He says, “Knowing that my father was going to pass away sometime in 2017, I knew I had to begin preparing for a new life and a new career direction.”
He enrolled in Rogue Valley Community Television’ studio certification program around that time to learn about producing and filming. Through this program he has produced and hosted 49 programs, of which he currently produces and hosts four at RVTV. “Those series are ‘Gems of the Rogue Valley,, ‘Rogue Artisans and Crafters,’ ‘The So NOT So Late Night Glamour Dave Show,’ and ‘The Small Interview with Glamour Dave.’” All are available on the Ashland Home Network and on Charter cable channel 182, and also stream on rvtv.sou.edu.
Matching this new experience in film and his long-held interest in the Table Rocks, Nienow hopes to begin shooting a documentary about the landmarks as soon as he receives enough funding, which he says is the biggest challenge thus far. Paying those who will work with him on the film and purchasing the required permits to film on location, he estimates the costs to be around $20,000.
While he’s done crowdfunding websites in the past, he hasn’t found much support there. “I tried to do a crowdfunding campaign for the film project through Seed & Spark, but I only got $100 in donations of our funding goal. We needed to reach at least $16,000 to get the funds to launch the project. So, as a result, nothing was gained. We may try another attempt at crowd funding through another site.”
While he considers his options, he has a Patreon account in support of the TV shows he runs at RVTV. “While all the producers at RVTV are volunteer producers, we all have expenses in producing our respective shows,” he explains. “We have to pay for the studio time that we secure for our shows. We need to reward our crews by typically feeding the volunteer producers who agree to come to the studio to help with a show production. Plus we may have to spend money for materials that are brought into the studio and incorporated into a show production. We all spend more money than we make as far as the TV shows produced at RVTV.”
Nienow isn’t complaining about the hard work required to run his shows. He considers the work a commitment as well as a reward. He clarifies, “When you’re an active producer such as I am, the expenses add up each month, as I have four different shows I produce. But for myself and the other active fellow producers at RVTV the work is done as a labor of love.”
Nienow plans to shoot his first short film within the next year. He pulls constant inspiration from documentarian Ken Burns and iconic filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard. Although he hasn’t started production for the film about the Table Rocks yet, he already has plans on what he wants to do with the film.
“Once the film is completed, the plans include donating copies of the documentary to all the schools in Southern Oregon for their libraries. The film will be submitted to all the major documentary film festivals. The goal will be to get the film into all the festivals that are part of the Oscar’s nomination process. In my wildest dream, the film would earn an Oscar nomination,” he says.
With a passion for film and a love for the Rogue Valley this deep, it seems as though nothing can stop Nienow’s dream to shoot this documentary. The Table Rocks are beautiful conservations of nature. More than anything Nienow hopes to capture that in his film.