Get a Look: ‘Just Beneath the Surface,’ Episode 101, to Premiere at Old Causeway

May 08, 2017
Source: Facebook/Bob Birdsall Bob Birdsall

When the announcement was made on Facebook back in January that this spring and summer would bring the first four episodes of the first season of Black Sails Publications and Oak Leaf Media’s web-based mini-documentary series “Just Beneath the Surface,” it got over 1,000 likes and almost as many shares. That says something pretty profound about the buzz surrounding the project and the faith of the local community in its artists and creative media to package, present and celebrate the very best of the LBI region.

After 18 months of researching and shooting paddlers, Pines and passions, “JBTS” Season One, Episode One will be unveiled this Thursday night at 8 at the Old Causeway Steak and Oyster House in Mud City. Narrated by Black Sails’ Jon Coen, the 17-minute episode taps into the knowledge and photographic library of Bob Birdsall, who has published several books about the Pine Barrens and rare wildlife, and highlights the farmers of Moore’s Meadow and Kenny Gallant, the enigmatic owner of Beach Haven’s South-End Surf N’ Paddle.

Coen wrote, directed and narrated the series as a marketing campaign in partnership with the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce. Oak Leaf Media, comprised of Dave Niziolek, Brendan Walsh and Kyle Griffin, shot and edited the footage.

The chamber’s CEO, Lori Pepenella, described the video series as a vehicle for telling “the profound stories of what makes the area so captivating, juxtaposing the traditional draw with the creativity that the new generation is breathing into the community.”

Thursday night’s event is free, sponsored by the Mud City Crabhouse family of restaurants, complete with thematic food and drink specials devised by the Old Causeway crew and live sets by musicians featured on the soundtrack, e.g. T. Gunn, Sahara Moon, and Matt Rott of the Dreadful Sea Shanties.

Throughout the season, “JBTS” subject matter ranges from striper blitzes offshore and historic shipwreck lore, to beloved barstool tales and the science and magic of the ocean, bay, estuary and Pine Barrens ecologies. Through the Oak Leaf lens, explore homes built to reflect the Long Beach Island lifestyle, paddle the bay, score epic swell, and glimpse what’s “just beneath the surface.” Feel the visceral impact of never-before-seen visuals à la high-definition aerial, water and undersea footage. Subsequent episodes are each about 12 minutes long.

“Get ready for an adventure in our own backyard,” the season trailer teases.

Episode Two has been submitted to the Lighthouse International Film Festival, so the creators hope to screen the next one in June. New Jersey Monthly will be running each episode on its website, and a few weeks later they will be available online.

Support for the series has come from the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce (“Beach Culture Redefined”), Ship Bottom Brewery, Dave’s Electric, Mud City Crabhouse and Farias Surf and Sport.

As many will recall, the seeds of the “JBTS” project were planted more than two years ago. The pilot, shot in the summer of 2015 and premiered Jan. 7, 2016, at Old Causeway, divided footage into “outdoors” and “culture” segments. Local food sources – embodied by gardener Jay Van Doren and “Richie the Crabber” – are linked to respected area restaurants, exploring how food gives a sense of place. Local artists, meanwhile – Bunkerfish Designs and painter Cathleen Engelsen – cultivate a lively art scene.

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— Victoria Ford


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