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A remote Newfoundland outport faces extinction. Once a vibrant community of independent fishermen, Bay de Verde was helpless in the face of international fishing trawlers and government fisheries mismanagement. The cod fishery collapsed in 1992 leading to the largest industrial layoff in Canadian history. A tide of outmigration followed, later slowed by a boom in mobile work as Newfoundlanders travelled back and forth to offshore oil rigs and further afield to Alberta’s oil sands, and elsewhere. Still, most of Bay de Verde’s young people are now gone. Its population has declined by half. How are those who remain at home coping? What future do they hope for? Will new developments, such as a different fishery (shellfish), tourism, and long-distance commuting be enough to save Bay de Verde? While this film focuses on one Newfoundland community, it serves as a wider comment on what is being lost in many rural places across the planet.
Dennis Lanson has produced and directed documentaries about work and place for years. The Phans of Jersey City was selected for New Directors/New Films at MOMA; Booming, about uranium miners in Wyoming, screened at Edinburgh, Denver, and Sundance; To Hear the Music, about organ builders and the creation of an instrument for Harvard’s Memorial Church, was broadcast on over 200 PBS stations in 2015. He has also edited programs for PBS, History, Discovery and A&E; taught film in the Boston area at Emerson, BU, The Museum School, and Endicott; in New York at Brooklyn College, Hunter and NYU; and on the West Coast at Cal Arts. Co-Producer, Director, Videographer, Co-Editor.
George Gmelch, Professor of Anthropology at the University of San Francisco, first did field research in rural Newfoundland in the early 1970s. During the past six years he has been working as part of a large interdisciplinary team based at Memorial University of Newfoundland looking at mobile work and community change. He teaches ethnographic film, has been the subject of an acclaimed documentary film in Ireland, is the author of 14 books, and has written widely for general audiences. Co-Producer, Research, Interviews.