Over the past eight years, the Working Waterfront Festival has amassed a sizeable collection of documentary films on many aspects of the working port including life at sea, fishing families, marine ecology, fisheries science, regulations, seafood cooking and more. “This series provides an exciting opportunity to showcase the best films we have come across over the years,” says Festival Director Laura Orleans. Many programs will be followed by a discussion. Some will include a panel from the local fishing community. Others will present a question and answer session with the filmmaker or a narrated slide talk on a particular theme.
On February 17th, the Dockumentary has two films in store for you: the first is a silent film from 1909 entitled A Sailor's Sacrifice, A short romance drama by the Vitagraph Company shot in southern Maine. A sailor leaves his family to go to sea and is thought lost when his boat sinks. The family loses its home and the young woman has to dig clams with her dog Jean.
The second film is called Down to the Sea in Ships. This whaling drama is most famous as the screen debut of Clara Bow. Besides that, it is also solid entertainment, offering both the best (documentary-like scenes of a whale being gutted) and the worst (some scenery-devouring histrionics) that silent film had to offer. Shot on locations in New Bedford and New England, the intertitles are sprinkled with quotes from Moby Dick and other whaling books.