Gulf of Mexico Foundation contributes
funding to documentary film project
The Gulf of Mexico
Foundation contributed financial support to the production of
a new one-hour-long, 16mm film documentary entitled, "Living
Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida." The film is available
for purchase for $17 in DVD or VHS format by calling (850)
674-2902 or by clicking here:
Live Oak Productions.
The artistically photographed, educational film highlights 12 of the 41 aquatic
preserves along Florida's 8,500 miles of coastline which
were set aside for protection by the state in 1966.
Produced and directed by
Elam Stoltzfus, the film features an
introduction and closing remarks by well-known Florida nature photographer Clyde
Butcher, whose current book, Living Waters: Aquatic
Preserves of Florida, served as both inspiration and
title for the new film. Butcher's coffee-table book of photos
is also available for purchase by clicking here:
St. Joe Bay #3
photo by Clyde Butcher
In addition to an hour of moving footage, the film highlights Butchers' artistic still
photographs portraying the natural beauty of Florida's aquatic preserves. Throughout the production,
the large-format black-and-white still photographs are first displayed, then brought to life by
the rich color of motion picture shot in the same location. It's as though
Butcher is guiding the cinematographers to cherished spots discovered
during his past 20 years of exploring the Florida coast.
Using aerial photography and boat-mounted cameras, the film
takes viewers on a journey through seagrass meadows and mangrove forests, down sandy
white beaches and across broad marshy wetlands. Underwater cinematography is also a part
film, with footage of schools of fish feeding in seagrass
beds, a snorkeler diving for scallops
swimming with an endangered Florida manatee.
Following their success with Living Waters,
cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus (right)
and photographer Clyde Butcher are currently teaming up on another film project, this time focusing on
the Apalachicola Bay and River.
The "Living Waters" film focuses on the natural wonders of Florida,
demonstrating how each of the 12 preserves featured are helping to
conserve the area's natural heritage, the wildlife residing there and the
area's cultural heritage for future
human generations. It also shows how visitors
and local residents enjoy the preserves through activities
kayaking, inner tubing, snorkeling and fishing.
Perhaps the production's most compelling aspect is the
soundtrack: a combination of composer Sammy Tedder's
instrumental music combined with voice-over by narrator Peter
Thomas. Other narration is provided by
marine conservationists and local citizens.
While footage shot in dramatic lighting from a variety of interesting angles moves across the
screen, the narrators contribute both scientific information
about the location and personal messages explaining its importance to the marine environment, local communities
and the eco-tourism industry.
One of the narrators, writer Sue Spencer, lives alongside a
river in the St. Johns River Marshes Aquatic Preserve.
Discussing how she and her sister are working to conserve their
backyard ecosystem, she manages to put the film's message into
a capsule. With a soft voice and deeply southern accent, she
eloquently states, "The wars are going to be fought
about water. We don't know how precious it is and when it
gets polluted, it's ruined ... We are so rich in water,
particularly in Florida, and we must take care of it."
In addition to the Gulf of Mexico Foundation's
contribution, other partners in the Live Oak Production film
project were the Florida Department of Environmental
Protection's Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
the Ocean Conservancy and Scandy White Boats.
Gulf of Mexico Foundation
PMB 51, 5403 Everhart • Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(800) 884-4175 toll free • (361) 882-3939 phone • (361) 882-1262 fax
• website: gulfmex.org
webmaster: Carrie Robertson