Accolades Abound for ‘The Oyster Farmers’ Film

Homegrown Documentary Makes the Festival Rounds
May 16, 2018
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill Producer Angela C. Andersen (left), clammer Dale Parsons (center) and Director Corinne G. Ruff (right)

“The Oyster Farmers” documentary is rich in history, heart, environmental sentiment and, now, in accolades. Oak Leaf Media’s film, directed by Corinne G. Ruff and produced by Angela C. Andersen, focuses on oyster aquaculture in Barnegat Bay, and seeks to play a part in awareness and restoration of oyster farming in the local estuary and beyond. And the film is making an impression.

Jetty, one of the sponsors for the documentary, lists its honors on the website theoysterfarmers.com. This includes the film’s official selection for, in 2018, the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival, the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, the Lighthouse International Film Festival, the Docs Without Borders Film Festival, the Garden State Film Festival, the Philadelphia Society for Applied Anthropology Film Fest and the New Hope Film Festival, as well as the DTLA Oyster Festival, in downtown Los Angeles, and NYC Oyster Week last year.

The film was a winner at the Garden State Film Festival, and an honoree at the 2018 Taste Awards, where it also won the Spotlight Award. And, it took home the Stan Waterman Award at the Princeton Film Festival; was honored for Outstanding Excellence, Environmental, at the Docs Without Border Film Festival; and Ruff earned the nod for Best Aspiring Female Director at the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival.

“There are two major triumphs for the film,” said Ruff. “First, it was brought to life by an incredible film team, and second, it was well received.

“As the first and only film ever made about oysters/oyster farmers in the  Barnegat Bay Little Egg Harbor Estuary, we had one shot to tell this story,” she explained. “The film’s many laurels and awards are a beautiful part of the film’s success, but to me the greatest success has been experiencing the cultivation of community, both local and global based on a shared passion for oysters.”

As Andersen noted, “The broad recognition is humbling. … Storytelling through film is an extraordinary tool to connect people. When you make a piece of art you don’t know how people will react to it, what emotions and thoughts it will evoke. The global resonance of our local story tells me that the power of assembling a strong team to bring a story to life is the key to success.

“From my environmental experience, this is a story about the resilience of our bay and the people dedicated to its health,” added Andersen, who works as the sustainability coordinator for Long Beach Township. “Without the work of many people the bay would not be in the shape it is to be able to support the resurgence of an aquaculture economy.”

Upcoming screenings of “The Oyster Farmers” include, as of now, the following dates: June 24 at The Showroom in Asbury Park; July 13 at the Bay Head Yacht Club, hosted by Save Barnegat Bay; July 20-29 at the New Hope Film Festival; Sept. 21 in Port Republic, hosted by Maxwell Shellfish and Stockon University; and Sept. 23 at Ocean County College’s Grunin Theater in Toms River, sponsored by the Barnegat Bay Partnership.

Andersen encourages keeping an eye on the film website for the addition of local screenings this summer.

As Ruff recounted, “At a recent film screening at the Stafford Intermediate School, one of the students came up to me after the film and said, ‘I didn’t know what the bay looked like under the water or from up in the air. It’s so big and beautiful! I want to be an oyster farmer!’ And as the 800 students left the auditorium, they were high-fiving the oyster farmers like they were rock stars. It was that day that I knew the film was a true success.”

To inquire about hosting a public or private screening of “The Oysters Farmers,” email info@jettylife.com to discuss screening fee and logistics.

Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

juliet@thesandpaper.net

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