A New Documentary Film in Honor of a Great Pioneer Woman

The Story of Nina Paul Shumway

It was the great American Pioneer spirit that shaped and developed The Coachella Valley. It wasn’t easy working day after day in 120-degree heat. It took a certain toughness. There was no running water, no air conditioning, wells had to be dug, farmhouses built, when they first arrived to settle the land– nothing was easy. And it was women like Nina Paul Shumway who contributed greatly to the firm foundation, settlement and growth of this amazing area, when they met every challenge face-to-face and refused to give into forces of nature. Perhaps it could be said that Nina and the other women like her, who helped build this valley, were themselves forces to be reckoned with. When Nina Paul Shumway first arrived in the Coachella Valley, following her father’s dream to start up a ranch there, she painted a very bleak picture of the desert saying:

“It was the most hopeless looking place on the map. It was all the color of ochre mustard. I stared at a straggling row of half dead pepper trees. There was only one store with a Post Office in it. There were few groceries, no fresh bread, no meat. The summers were too hot for women and for flies. The days blazed up, were consumed like bits of burning paper, and fluttered away, charred fragments of the night.”

Yet from this bleakness, these brave pioneers laid the foundation for the thriving valley Coachella has become.

About Nina Paul Shumway

Nina Paul Shumway, and dedicated men and women like her, used their great pioneering spirit to put The Coachella Valley on the map. Her father, William L. Paul, worked with other date ranchers in the valley and helped found the Coachella Valley Date Growers Association As President he negotiated the purchases of date shoots from Northern Africa and the Middle East. He also helped charter the California Date Growers Association.

Nina also knew and admired the indigenous people of the area. Through her explorations she collected Indian artifacts and left her vast collection to the Palm Springs Museum. Nina was also one of the very first environmentalists of the area. Her biggest desire was to preserve the area’s natural beauty so that it could be enjoyed by generations to come. She found the beauty and amazement of the area extremely healing.

Nina found Divinity, peace and serenity in the nature that surrounded her. She left us books and wonderful writings that document that beauty.

Nina Paul Shumway was a gift to The Coachella Valley, and she was loved and admired by other pioneering spirits like her friend, the great Nellie Coffman, who created the beloved Desert Inn.

Play an inspirational excerpt from the Audio Track of “God, Guts and Grit” below.

Producers John and Yolanda Kalb

John and Yolanda Kalb, the producers of the upcoming documentary film about Nina Paul Shumway, are residents of Mountain Center, California for 25 years, which is very close to Shumway Ranch. They were very excited to see what was developing when Daniel Foster, an award-winning community leader and non-profit executive director, told them about his vision for The Shumway Ranch. John and Yolanda were very inspired about the history that went on at the ranch and wanted to create a documentary film in honor of that history and in honor of Nina Paul Shumway.

Emmy-Nominated Producer/Director Pamela Peak

Pamela Peak is an award-winning screenwriter, producer/director and filmmaker whose works have been seen by over 50 million viewers on PBS. When John and Yolanda Kalb brought the story of Nina Paul Shumway to Pamela she felt an immediate connection with Nina, her courage, her grit and the peace and divine serenity that Nina Paul Shumway found in the beautiful nature of The Coachella Valley.

“It was Nina’s spunky spirit that amazed me” says Pamela. “She was a woman who got involved in things to make them better and she never gave up!”

Pamela’s award-winning films Colorblind and Voices of a Never-Ending Dawn have been loved by PBS viewers across America and Canada. Pamela’s documentaries are always inspirational, and it was the great inspiration that Nina Paul Shumway found in nature that spoke to Pamela’s heart.

Please view trailers from Pamela’s award-winning PBS documentaries at the links above.

Daniel Foster – Award Winning Community Leader and Non-Profit Executive Director

Daniel Foster is an award-winning community leader, nonprofit executive director, nonprofit start-up expert, and a public programs educator for the past 35 years in Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego County regions. Foster’s community work has received awards and recognition from the State of California Senate and Assembly. He has also been the past Executive Director of two large nonprofit museums at the Riverside Art Museum, Oceanside Museum of Art – with operating budgets above $1 million. It is Daniel Foster’s vision for the Shumway Ranch working with the Coachella Valley Mountain Conservancy. Daniel is working with the Conversancy to meet their objectives of preserving the environment and creating an environment open and welcoming for artists to come and enjoy the area.

To donate to the creation of this film, please call John Kalb at: 760-908-2773 or reach him by email at JohnK.Shumway@gmail.com.