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The Ketchikan Story Project

In 2009, Eben and Elle was hired to write/co-produce a short "markumentary" film about the commercial fishing industry in Ketchikan, Alaska. The film, Ketchikan: A Fish Story, was to become the first in a series of six films about the little seaside community of Ketchikan. The series, produced in conjunction with the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau and Kali Enterprises, is called The Ketchikan Story Project. All told, it encompasses six films, 39 digital shorts, a curated website (, an app, and seven Emmys.

Ketchikan: The Timber Years

Ketchikan, Alaska, is surrounded by the Tongass National Forest, arguably one of the most beautiful jewels in the U.S. Forest Service’s crown. With 17M acres spanning the entire Alaskan panhandle, the Tongass is full of wildlife, waterfalls, salmon streams, and timber. Lots and lots of timber.

The timber industry in Ketchikan started out small, with handloggers and gyppos (i.e., independent small-scale logging operations) cutting trees for houses, early mining operations, fish boxes, boardwalks, and the very pilings on which the seaside town stands. Once the pulp mill was built to process the larger percentage of logs unsuitable for the sawmill, the U.S. government awarded a 50-year timber contract … and the boom was on.

Ketchikan: The Timber Years tells the story of Southern Southeast Alaska’s storied logging boom. Told by old-timers, forest rangers, bush pilots, loggers, and other salty characters, the film gives a glimpse into a very wild and unique time in Ketchikan’s history, when real men wore suspenders and kids had to wear lifejackets to school.

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