Waterfronts Reborn A Documentary Film

See the trailer HERE

    Charles Flynn, Executive Director of Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, and Jon Dann of Jon Dann Communications, have proposed a project to make a documentary film about the history of the Waterfront Center and the impact that the Center has had over the years on waterfront development.

About our Producer:

    Jonathan Dann has worked at the highest levels of network broadcasting (NBC. CBS, PBS, CNBC, A&E) collaborating with some of the most respected names in the business. He has received the industry’s top awards, including three Peabody Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, and a Certificate of Special Merit from the Academy Awards. He won his third duPont-Columbia Award for producing the PBS special "War Stories from Ward #7D," which followed the struggles of Iraq War veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury. In 2011, he was a finalist for a Gerald Loeb Award for financial reporting.

   Dann also produced the highest rated documentary in CNBC history, "Marijuana Inc: Inside America’s Pot Industry." The hour-long documentary has aired more than 100 times and was nominated for a national Emmy. His other productions include "Tom Brokaw Reports: Boomer$!" a two-hour documentary on the legacy and challenges of the baby boom generation, reported by NBC Senior Correspondent Tom Brokaw, with whom Dann collaborated closely for nearly a year as the program’s creator and senior producer.


About the Buffalo Bayou:

     Ann and Dick were hired in 1999 by Anne Olson, executive director of the non-profit Buffalo Bayou Partnership to offer advice on the nascent vision for the Bayou which stretches ten miles through the heart of Houston. One recommendation was for the Partnership to undertake a full-scale master plan that they began in 2001 working with the Thompson Design Group. Now 15 years later the plan has been realized to a major extent. The once bedraggled, overgrown bayou and its banks have been transformed into a beautiful oasis of green and parklands for the citizens of the city.

     Visit Buffalo Bayou Partnership web site to learn more about the parks and programming:


     Anyone who has ever been involved with filmmaking knows how expensive a proposition it is.The Center is in the process of raising funds for not only the completion of the trailer but also the longer documentary. The Center is a recognized 501-c-3 non-profit organization so all contributions are tax-deductible and will be most appreciated.     We have already raised $10,000 toward our initial $25,000 goal for this initial stage, and ask that you become a pioneer in this project. We need 15 more people to contribute an initial $1,000 each so that the film concept can be further developed. We hope you will join us in this great endeavor.  Please make check payable to The Waterfront Center for the restricted purpose of producing the 35th anniversary film.

Waterfronts Reborn, A Synopsis

Water is the driving force in nature.  Leonardo da Vinci

There’s no telling what the power of the people and the river can do. Pete Seeger, 1982

Who hears the rippling of rivers will not utterly despair of anything. HENRY DAVID THOREAU

There is a certain elemental power in water, a magnetic appeal, and even a spiritual quality.  Psalm 23 is definitive: “still waters restoreth our souls.” 

As it turns out, still waters also restoreth the souls of our communities.

     Beyond its basic benefit of sustaining life, fueling industry, irrigating crops and quenching thirst, water is the great natural resource upon which most of our greatest cities have been founded.

    During the industrial revolution of the 20th Century, waterways were used—and abused—for transportation, industry, as sewers, and as low cost rights of ways for railroads and highways. As our once-great waterfronts suffered from this neglect, people were cut-off from the water all around them.

But that has changed. Quietly, America’s waterfronts have and continue to be reborn.

    How did it happen? Without an official Presidential announcement of a national “Moonshot”-type undertaking; the citizens of America—at their most grass-roots level-- have led the world in transforming our waterfronts.

This is the story of how that transformation is taking place.

    Ideas can have power, but they only produce results when individuals dedicate their careers and talents to the never-ending pursuit of a vision. Ann Breen is one such pioneer. In the 1970’s, from her graduate work in urban planning, she envisioned what few people yet did:  communities all across the United States and the world could reclaim their waterfronts.   

The Waterfront Center: Ann Breen and Dick Rigby.

     In 1981, Ann Breen and Dick Rigby created the non-profit Waterfront Center with the express purpose of assisting communities to reconnect with their waterfronts…to their history and heritage…for economic revitalization…to reveal their natural beauty.

    The Waterfront Center has served as a catalyst, helping empower hundreds of communities by equipping them with the tools to be creative and strategic: a literal and figurative “sea change” in our collective view of our waterfronts.

“Waterfronts Reborn” a new film produced by Friends of the Waterfront Center.

     “Friends of the Waterfront Center” propose to produce a first-class film, which will bring to life—as only film can—the story of the transformation of our waterfronts and the Waterfront Center’s role in that transformation.  The film will feature the people and communities that have achieved dramatic change with the help of the Waterfront Center.

     We propose to collaborate with Jon Dann, a respected documentary producer (See here), to research and develop the story lines, and then produce and distribute this film in a number of venues – most importantly PBS. The first steps are research, development, along with some filming, so that a trailer for the film can be completed, which will help us inform the full scope of the project and serve as an excellent vehicle for further fundraising.