The Film

About the Film

VIVA LA VERDE is an independent documentary film seven years in the making. It explores the past, present and future of Arizona rivers, using the foremost surviving perennial river in Arizona, The Verde River, as a case study. It combines amazing wildlife photos and video with educational animated sequences, expert interviews, and an original soundtrack. This film sends a strong message of stewardship for wildlife, rivers, and water resources, and offers clear, solution-driven opportunities for citizens to get involved and help to preserve and restore our rivers.

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About Hueman Productions

Our goal is to empower audiences to take action that will ensure a healthy future for the Verde and other southwestern rivers by utilizing practical strategies for water conservation.

At every stage of its development Viva la Verde has proven to be a very effective tool that successfully communicates the significance of our water resource choices and the precarious state of the Verde River and other southwestern desert rivers. In addition to the core production crew, there have been dozens of individuals who have volunteered their time and energy to get Viva la Verde where it is today. Thanks to everyone who has contributed. We wouldn’t be here today without all of your support.

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The Crew


Cinematographer, Producer, Editor & Director

Hugh Denno began his film career in 2006 while exploring the depths of the Amazon as a volunteer. Over ten years of professional experience as a naturalist, experiential educator, and wilderness guide has prepared him to be a great storyteller. Hugh says, “traveling and working in the wilderness teaches us how to accomplish monumental goals with minimal resources.”

Hugh holds a BA in Conservation Biology and Adventure Education from Prescott College. After college, Hugh created Hueman Productions, an independent film production company to serve the growing number of environmental and social justice groups around the globe. He has worked as an independent cinematographer, editor, producer and director for many environmental and social justice film projects since 2008. Hugh continues to travel and make films. His ultimate goal is to use video to help others bring their dreams to reality and to paint a clear picture of the positive future that we can all work toward.

Gary Beverly, PhD

Producer, Narrator, Writer, Graphic Design & Director of Photography

Gary Beverly earned a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of California. Moving to Prescott in 1974, he taught physical science and alternative energy at Yavapai College then worked as a farmer, ceramic artist, solar contractor, and businessman. Since retiring, he is a full-time volunteer environmental activist using photography, writing, and public presentations to alert citizens about the value of and the threats to the Verde River. In 2010, he completed “A Citizens’ Proposal for the Upper Verde Wild and Scenic River,” leading to this film project with Hugh Denno as a means of educating more citizens to the plight of the Verde.

A Sierra Club member since 1984, he is active in local and statewide conservation issues specializing in public lands and water. His most enjoyable role is leading groups of students and citizens on field tours of the upper Verde to learn about the geology, hydrology, ecology, and public policy surrounding this critically important river. He also serves as Public Policy Chair and Board Member of the Citizens Water Advocacy Group, a Prescott non-profit, which seeks to achieve a sustainable water future for the Verde Watershed and to protect the base flow of the Verde River.

Margaret Dewar

Mural Mice Universal
Viva la Verde Animation Artist

Born and raised in Potsdam New York, Margaret moved to Arizona in 2005. She is co-founder of Mural Mice Universal and director of the Mousterpiece Theater Company. She co-produced and painted murals in Prescott and Mesa, AZ. She now resides in Flagstaff where she continues to paint murals, beautify public space and cultivate community pride.

Maggie says: “I worked on Viva la Verde because I believe it is the role of the artist to listen to visions for a better future and bring them to life. I love the desert and the river too! Contributing to an educational and worthwhile effort to preserve our last perennial river in Arizona was an opportunity I could not refuse. Traditionally a mural painter, I took on the new challenge of creating animations for the film. In total we made 4 minutes and 33 seconds of old fashioned stop motion frame-by-frame animations. This was my first attempt at animation. I learned it is a crazy, long, and difficult process. In the end, I really like our hand drawn style and I may have found a new favorite medium, the limitless realm of animation.”

Check out our Viva la Verde Animation project here …. Link to art...

R.E. Wall

Project Director/ Artist
Mural Mice Universal
Viva La Verde Illustrator

R. E. Wall is a community minded public artist hailing from Flagstaff Az. He lived and worked in Prescott, Arizona for eighteen years where he founded Mural Mice Universal in 2004. He directed the Prescott Downtown Mural Project from 2005-2011, a project that collaborated with over 2,500 Prescott citizens to create murals of enduring value in public spaces. He is prolific in mixed medias, including calligraphy, pen and ink, acrylic, watercolor, oil and airbrush.

“My work on Viva la Verde was a labor of love for the river. I fabricated mini-mural vignettes of the Verde River and assisted with animation segments. The vignettes illustrated two different choices for the future of the river, a dry future and a wet future. It would be a nightmare to see the Verde River dry up. Hopefully my art can help people visualize the effects of either option. If we want a flowing river we need to adapt to more modest desert living standards.” Wall says.

For more information about Mural Mice Universal, please visit

Jonathan Best

Music Producer

Music Producer Jonathan Best has performed on the street corners of New York City, in churches with gospel groups, on stage with the Drifters, and toured the world with Talking Heads leader David Byrne. He owned and ran a recording studio in New York City. Working with the Maasai tribe in Kenya to build a media center, he learned how music played by an entire village can help sustain a community, which led him to form the non-profit “ComMUSIKey” dedicated to building community through all-inclusive music making. He travels wherever called to spread musical truth.

Jonathan says “Like a river, this project has meandered through many developments and through many people's lives. And like the river, editing and creating the music for Viva la Verde has fed my soul. The highlight was when Hugh and a parade of river-lovers meandered through my studio to make the music for the film. Together we gave our community the opportunity to unite around our local river that has nurtured countless communities for millennia. My involvement continues to grow as I lend my ears to the music of the Verde River. The entire project has given me hope that we can protect the river.”


Copy Editor and Graphic Designer

Daniel Roca is an international travel writer, photographer, designer, and editor. Daniel has worked for travel and lifestyle magazines throughout Asia, Europe, the Mideast and the Americas documenting landscape, food, and culture. He received his BFA degree in Creative Writing from Prescott College in 2012. In 2013 he was awarded the Suzanne Tito Prize in Poetry from Alligator Juniper National Literary Journal.

Daniel says “I started working with Hugh on Viva la Verde in 2011. Often times, the scale of our environmental issues feels insurmountable. What draws me to Viva la Verde is the positive message that it provides; I feel capable of changing my community. In designing the print media for this film, I wanted that message of hope to remain central. I wanted to provide the film with something iconic and optimistic, an idea that focuses on the beauty of the environment we are trying to save while simultaneously asking for change. My hope is that the imagery reflects what this film taught me: that change is possible if local communities can come together to implement small and effective techniques for renewable resources like water, and really truly live by the philosophy that “Every Drop Counts.”


Editor & Production Assistant

Sam Coodley received a BA degree in Film Theory & Production from Prescott College. Sam is passionate about utilizing the increasingly digital climate of his generation to promote social and ecological justice and to discover the positive potential for individual and social growth.

Sam has invested hundreds of hours volunteering as an editor for Viva la Verde. He assisted Viva la Verde's successful Kickstarter campaign during a film tour in Northern and Central Arizona cities. He helped to draft documents such as kickstarter updates and transcript revisions for the film. He assisted with several on-location filming trips. As an editor for Viva la Verde, Sam added sound effects for three animated sequences, inserted b-roll footage over the interviews, worked on color correction, image stabilization, and narrative flow.


Resident Geek

Rudy Preston is a self-taught programmer and developer who specialized in custom built web-based applications for small business management. He also develops public facing websites using Wordpress and Joomla! with the ability to create custom plugins for every need.

His company also provides web hosting, print-based graphic design, illustration, and typesetting for printed books and e-books, as well as identity/logo design, and packaging design. They can also provide high-quality, low cost printed materials such as stickers, posters, brochures, t-shirts, and koozies.


Film Tour Coordinator & Promoter

After earning his B.A. in Psychology from UCLA, Greg spent more than 10 years as an outdoor experiential educator and wilderness therapy instructor before earning his M.S. in Experiential Education. Greg is excited to combine experiential education with new & creative uses of technology, fun activities, and film. He works to educate and inspire diverse audiences to take action in their own communities. He appreciates working with professionals who share a passion for conservation, education and the powerful medium that film provides. As Film Tour Manager, he is in charge of event planning, outreach and fundraising. He will also assist with filming, editing and production of future projects.

Greg Says, ”I work with film because I believe in the power of storytelling. Film can take a place, a person, or an issue and turn it into a beautiful, compelling and engulfing story that is meaningful and thought-provoking. I am proud to use art to educate audiences about a cause that I believe in. With a growing array of modern portals through which to share film and digital media, I am excited to connect people with the issues, and to encourage them to use Viva La Verde as a catalyst to take the work we present into their own hands.”

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