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Semester by the Sea Student’s Film Debuts at Earthstock

Ben LammGareth Burghes ’12 found a way to meld two of his interests — science and cinema — into a documentary film about Long Island baymen and the status of the shellfish industry, thanks to his participation in the Semester by the Sea program at Stony Brook Southampton.

In addition to the marine sciences major, the Columbus, Ohio, native picked up a second major in theater while participating in Pocket Theater, an undergraduate theater company at the University. After Burghes graduated with his BS degree, he received an email about the Semester by the Sea program, which offers 10-week courses in filmmaking and marine sciences. His knowledge of Long Island’s marine ecosystem, coupled with the filmmaking program, resulted in a documentary about the state of the local shellfish industry aimed at educating the general public. For the film, Burghes interviewed his former marine sciences professors and other scientists, as well as baymen and a historian.

When Filtering Futures, A Story of Long Island Livelihood and Shellfish was newly completed, it lacked an original soundtrack. Burghes reached out to his friend and former classmate Jeston Lewis, ’12, a multidisciplinary studies major from Brisbane, California, to see if he would be interested in scoring the film.

Lewis had gone on to work for the production company Sled Dog Studios, and with his a cappella ensemble, The Executive Board, had just recorded the song “Coming Home.”

“It complemented my piece amazingly, so the film really shines,” Burghes said. Lewis also was able to enhance sound in the film by reducing background noise.

Burghes’ film will air for the first time before a live audience at Earthstock on April 16 in the Student Activities Center Ballroom B at 6 pm.

“I’m thrilled to have my film shown at Earthstock because it’s the first step [in getting it out there and bringing attention to the shellfish industry],” he said. “I’m excited for people to realize the cost of this struggling resource and the promise as well as the problems facing its restoration.”

Ed Warner, a fifth-generation bayman and Southampton trustee, said,  “I was happy to be part of this film so I could help educate the public about the importance of our maritime heritage and to preserve its rich legacy.”
Semester by the Sea Arts Program Director William Burford said, “Gareth is the ideal participant for Semester by the Sea's creative writing program.  He’s got initiative. He has something to do that he really cares about.  He works hard to realize what he has in mind.  He listens deeply, but makes his own decisions.  And he keeps after it, even when there are obstacles, until he gets to the good stuff."

By Glenn Jochum


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