Young filmmakers present “Ocean” on the beach

A large crowd gathers at Menemsha beach to watch films from MVFF.

The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival has been holding a filmmaking camp throughout the month of July. There has been a different focus each week. The first week was about documentary filmmaking; 18 kids, ages 8 to16, learned how to construct a documentary under the guidance of Robyn Athearn, Ben Sweet, Reece Robinson, Haley Jakobson, and Felix Doty. The topic of the documentary was “Ocean,” which went on to become the title of the film.

The kids interviewed people in Menemsha and on the beach about what they love about the ocean, their concerns for the health of the ocean, and what their favorite fish are. The most imaginative question was, “If you were the ocean and you could speak from your heart, what would you tell people?” The raw footage was then edited by Ben Sweet, and presented last Monday at the MVFF’s free screening on Menemsha Beach titled “Shellfish Shorts on the Shore.”

As you may recall, the wind was howling last Monday, and the staff of the MVFF had to strap the film screen to the side of their truck to keep it from blowing away. But fortunately, nature became more agreeable, and close to 280 people who had gathered on the beach to watch the kids’ documentary and three films about shellfish by John Stanton, Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth, and Elise Hugus were treated to a beautiful sunset.

There was a question and answer period after the films with all the directors except Elise Hugus. Rick Karney, director of the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, was also part of the Q and A. The discussion centered mainly around nitrogen in the water supply and how to keep it out or at least lower it. Suggestions of what people can do included: Don’t use chemical fertilizers, connect to your town sewer (if available), and convert your septic to a “Title 5” septic system.