Neighbors share the screen on Our Island Club TV
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Since he moved to the Island in 2001, Geoff Rose has managed to carve out a career niche for himself by launching a series of local-centric business initiatives. His roster of enterprises includes MV Gift Certificates, the Our Island Club discount card service, and the trivia game How Green is Your Vineyard. Most recently Mr. Rose and his business partner Jonathan Bernstein have pooled their talents to create a series of magazine-style television shows called Our Island Club TV.
The nine-episode series kicked off in October on public access television station MVTV. Since then, four half-hour shows — one each month — have gone into regular rotation on the station and can also be viewed online. The shows feature a number of short segments spotlighting local people, organizations, and programs. It's a very polished and professionally produced, not surprising since Mr. Bernstein — the show's co-producer, director, principal cameraman, and editor — is an Emmy award nominated film and television producer who retired to the Vineyard 12 years ago.
Mr. Rose and Mr. Bernstein co-founded Our Island Club in 2005. The idea of asking Vineyard business owners to offer discounts to locals came from Mr. Bernstein. Mr. Rose was an ideal partner since he already had relationships with many local merchants through the MV Gift Certificate service, which he started in 2002.
Producing a locally focused TV show seemed like an obvious move for the two partners. Along with Mr. Bernstein's decades of experience as a filmmaker and producer, Mr. Rose brings a lifetime of involvement in the television industry in New York and Connecticut to the table.
"We felt that it was important to continue to help build community through another venue," Mr. Rose said.
Initial work on the series began last February, when the two co-creators started filming segments for the show. All of the camera work was completed by the end of the summer. The editing process is ongoing. Mr. Rose comments on how he selected his subjects: "We included individuals and organizations within the community who we feel reflect the positive values and the charitable nature of our community."
But the co-producers want the show to be more than just informative. "We're looking to entertain you," Mr. Rose says.
The segments featuring Island personalities are, in fact, very entertaining, particularly a two-part interview with musicians Johnny Hoy and Jeremy Berlin. Among other interesting tidbits, Mr. Hoy explains how he all but literally "washed ashore" here when a boat he was traveling on sank while he and friends were visiting the Island.
Other biographical segments feature Janet Messineo talking about her passion for fishing and her struggle to find acceptance in a pastime dominated by men, and Renaissance man Tom Dresser discussing the variety of careers he has pursued and the eclectic range of topics covered in the half dozen books he has written. The interviews are light, funny, and full of anecdotes.
Informational segments include pieces on the YMCA's teen center, the Island Food Pantry, and the organization Women Empowered. These segments feature multiple on-site interviews and illustrative footage.
With these pieces Mr. Rose aims to raise awareness to some lesser known organizations like Island Employment Services. which helps place disabled Vineyarders in jobs. In some cases, he hopes to offer people a different perspective. Talking about a piece on Windemere, Mr. Rose says, "Most people think of a nursing home as a last stop. Our whole focus was on how Windemere helps people continue life."
Some segments offer helpful advice or information. A regular feature called Growing Older Better features Carol Kenney, Ph. D, discussing topics like nutrition, sleep, and supplements. Other subjects of general interest include a talk with acupuncturist Hellie Neumann and a segment on giving your pet a pill with veterinarian Michelle Jasny.
Each episode includes a regular feature called Holly's Hit List, featuring writer Holly Nadler. The show's producers call this their "Andy Rooney" style segment, referring to the longtime 60 Minutes satirist. Each week, Ms. Nadler pontificates — tongue firmly in cheek — on topics ranging from shooting your own Thanksgiving turkey to ways to capitalize on Doomsday hysteria.
The show concludes with a montage of Vineyard scenes by photographer Alan Brigish. An original song by Wilson Conroy opens and closes each episode and is featured in between segments. Others who have contributed to the show, with camera and editing work, are film student Eric Perzanowski and Mr. Bernstein's son, Joshua.
When they began Our Island Club seven years ago, Mr. Rose and Mr. Bernstein both agreed that some of the proceeds should benefit local nonprofits. So far the program has donated $275,000 to Island charities.
To watch Our Island Club TV, visit vimeo.com/ourislandclubtv.