The trailer for the documentary “Jamaica Bay Lives” made its debut at a fundraiser at the MoMA PS1 VW Dome on Sunday, May 19th.
More than 50 people visited the Dome to see the trailer and meet the makers of “Jamaica Bay Lives,” the first-ever feature documentary about Jamaica Bay. The film tells the story about the tarnished area and the fight to save it and transform it into a world-class national park. Producer Dan Hendrick decided to create the film to put a spotlight on Jamaica Bay, which has been impacted by a series of problems caused by development, sewage pollution, dredging and more. Jamaica Bay has suffered from significant marsh loss. “We had to convince people that this problem is ongoing,” Hendrick said.
Hendrick has spent several years focusing on the area and even wrote a book about its history, “Images of America: Jamaica Bay” in 2006. In 2011, he started working on the film.
“Jamaica Bay has been included in other documentaries, but it never had its own thing,” Hendrick said. “It deserves it.” Hendrick has a goal of national distribution for the film when it is complete. He has met with television channels such as PBS and the Discovery Channel to discuss broadcasting the documentary. Hendrick hopes that the film will be able to save the troubled area. “People want this film to get made. There’s a desire for Jamaica Bay to be better than it is now,” he said.
Hendrick isn’t the only one that recognizes the film’s potential. Dan Mundy, president of Jamaica Bay EcoWatchers, has been working with Hendrick and is one of the characters of the film. “We saw the value in bringing this out to people. We think this is going to have a great impact,” Mundy said at the fundraising event.
Don Riepe, the director of the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and councilman Eric Ulrich also spoke at the event.
“This film will have a tremendous impact on the ability to save Jamaica Bay,” Ulrich said. The film started as an environmental documentary, but an emotional element was thrown in when Hurricane Sandy hit in October. The film documents how the storm impacted some of the characters directly. “It amps up the emotional connection with characters,” Hendrick said. Hendrick has footage before and after the storm, but he is looking for local residents to submit footage of the storm as it occurred. If you have any videos of the impact of Sandy as it happened, contact Hendrick by calling 917-207-8715 or email him at danhendrick11104- @gmail.com. The film is not yet complete and there is still a long way to go. Filming will continue through the end of the summer. It will then take six months to a year to edit the film and Hendrick wants to make sure that it’s done professionally. A fundraiser was held because the film needs a “couple hundred thousand dollars” to complete according to Hendrick.
“We want to do this right because this place deserves it,” Hendrick said.