The Big Lake

4 films in this block • 58 minutes

The Films

Diving UP

  • Year 2020
  • Country United States
  • Runtime 5 min
  • Director Cameron Mattson

Filmmaker in Attendance

In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, there are many who enjoy the numerous wonders of nature this state has to offer. However, there is another natural treasure that has been mostly forgotten. One would never guess it was hiding in plain sight under Lake Superior all along.

Saving Buffalo Reef

  • Year 2020
  • Country United States and Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
  • Runtime 11 min
  • Director Finn Ryan

Filmmaker in Attendance

Buffalo Reef is a natural cobble feature in Lake Superior, located just off the eastern edge of the Keweenaw Peninsula in the U.P of Michigan. The reef has historically maintained invaluable spawning habitat for fish species such as lake trout and lake whitefish. These remarkable habitat features are threatened by the migrating stamp sands, produced by harmful mining activities beginning in the late 1800’s.

The treaty of 1842 or commonly known as the “Copper Treaty” ceded millions of acres of land to the United States in exchange for rights to hunt, fish, and gather within the ceded territory. Buffalo Reef has always been considered as culturally significant harvesting grounds for local tribal communities.

Today’s challenge involving Tribal, State, Federal, and Academic partnerships combine efforts to mitigate damages and ultimately restore Buffalo Reef as the ecological resource that has sustained both tribal and non-tribal communities for generations.

Eight Days on Isle Royale

  • Year 2021
  • Country United States
  • Runtime 18 min
  • Director Kristin Ojaniemi

Filmmaker in Attendance

Isle Royale is the nation’s least visited National Park, however it is the most revisited National Park. In the spring of 2021, Kristin Ojaniemi, co-host of the U.P.’s outdoors show “Discovering”, spent 8 days on Isle Royale; backpacking, exploring the trails and harbors, learning about the island’s wilderness and history, and chatting with the researchers of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose project.


  • Year 2021
  • Runtime 23 min
  • Director Ian Planchon

Freshwater is a documentary that dives into the cold waters of Lake Superior along Minnesota’s North Shore. Despite the fact that it contains ten percent of Earth’s freshwater, this massive force of nature remains largely unexplored. One group of people, however, is intimately aware of its power. From the surfers who catch its waves to the scientists who study its depths, learn why Lake Superior is a precious resource that should never be taken for granted.