Winner 2002

The Complete Angler


When Yale student James Prosek convinced the university to permit him to write a senior essay on Izaak Walton, author of the 17th Century classic, The Complete Angler (The Compleat Angler), he had not yet read Walton’s book. When he did he found it as much about a philosophy of life as about fishing. Prosek’s “research,” which took him to Ireland and England to fish the same rivers and streams as had Walton, is captured in this very personal documentary that celebrates nature, fishing, and most importantly, the contemplative life of the “complete” fisherman. He discovers the art of “dapping,” a method of fly-fishing still practiced as it was in Walton’s day, 350 years earlier. He fishes the streams flowing under and around London—streams once central to water meadows, but now surrounded by parking lots and high-rise apartment buildings. And he makes his way into the world of private river-ways, fished only by the upper-class English gentry who control the land through which the rivers flow. With lords and princes, as well as with fishing guides and boatmen, he discovers a common bond among anglers. It is a bond that erases social barriers among those for whom angling is a way to discover the flow of life as well as the flow of waters. Executive Producers Mark Shapiro and Michael Antinoro worked with Producer Fritz Michell to craft this extraordinary film, written by Prosek and directed by Peter Francella. Associate Producers include Paul Carruthers and Wendy Yamano. For presenting the beauty of 17th century contemplation to today’s audiences in this exquisite video tone poem, a Peabody Award goes to The Complete Angler (The Compleat Angler).