ISLAND LOBSTERMAN, 23min., USA, Documentary
Directed by Andrew Lyman-Clarke
Island Lobsterman is the story of Malcolm Fernald, who, with his father Dan, lobsters the waters in the Acadia region of Maine. This film is about the unique lifestyle they lead and the challenges they face. The island they live on, Little Cranberry, is only a mile an a half long and a mile wide.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I wanted to make something in Maine near the family house that I’ve been going up to every summer my whole life, and I wanted it to be something that could help me get work in nature/travel TV (like National Geographic). After thinking a while about it, I decided a documentary about lobstering was the best opportunity.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
I had the idea in spring of 2021 and started setting up a trade with a few friends of mine who are also filmmakers: we would both go up to Maine and help each other on the other’s movie. We filmed in June of 2021, then I spent the next year editing the movie. So it took about a year and three months.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
The title does that pretty well 😉 but if I had to pick two other words it would be “conscientious hunters.”
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
We had a lot of boat issues as we were getting to and from the Isleford location. The rope from the dinghy we were towing kept getting tangled in the propeller and making the engine die. At one point the boat wouldn’t start and we had to get out of the boat and wade with it because it was drifting into shore. We got a lot of help from locals and it all worked out in the end.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It was gratifying to see that people’s eyes were opened, as mine were, to the great values which these lobstermen have. People didn’t know that lobstermen are stewards of the environment and the ocean. It was also great to see that people were being made aware of the threats to lobstermen. Basically all the things I learned in making the film are coming across, so that was great to see.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
It’s hard to crystallize an exact moment, but I had made short movies with my friends as a kid and then went on to make videos as projects for one particular teacher in high school, Ned Grant. He encouraged me a lot to pursue my interest in it. I think I really fell in love with the filmmaking process one special week my junior year, when my Dad took me to an editing facility to edit the footage from a movie we made called Deathwatch. It was like magic putting different takes together with music and creating a world!
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
I have seen the movie American Psycho probably ten times. I love that movie for its hilarious dark comedy, social commentary and cryptic messages.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other
festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
It’s not an easy ask, but connecting filmmakers to decision makers in the film and TV industries would really help. It’s so difficult to break into those worlds.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your
experiences been working on the festival platform site?
The site itself is great and really streamlines the submission process. I think it is better than Withoutabox was. These days there are so many festivals so it helps to have them all collected and easily searchable.
10. What is your favorite meal?
My wife makes a dish with spaghetti squash, feta cheese and tomatoes which is amazing.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I am prepping to shoot a Proof of Concept for a TV Show I created with screenwriter Kim Tank called The D3v1ce. It’s about a young Black inventor who creates a new type of brain scanner which unlocks powerful abilities within him and sends him on a meteoric rise. I am also working on a documentary about the use of psychedelics in nature called Reconnecting. I have a few feature scripts I am writing–one a psychedelic fantasy called God of Earth, the other a zombie horror film called Blood Fix.