For many who live around Jamaica Bay, life has been separated into two eras: before Hurricane Sandy and after.
The significance of last October’s storm on the history of the bay and its surrounding communities was clear during the premiere of the trailer for “Jamaica Bay Lives,” a documentary produced by Dan Hendrick, vice president for external affairs at the League of Conservation Voters and an author who penned a book about Jamaica Bay. The trailer premiered Sunday inside the PS 1 VW Dome 2 in Rockaway Beach.
The nine-minute long clip, which featured interviews with former Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Dan Mundy Sr. and Dan Mundy Jr. of Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and Don Riepe, president of the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society, includes footage filmed before Sandy and discusses environmental issues and everyday life for residents around the bay.
Much of the film is dedicated to the wildlife that calls the bay home, the history of the body of water, including its descent into the reputation it garnered for being polluted, and the effect JFK Airport has had on the ecosystem there.
But the trailer ended with scenes shot the day after Sandy that included damage in Broad Channel and interviews with residents.
Hendrick, who lives in Sunnyside, said there is still a lot more work left before the entire film can premiere, including more interviews and the editing process, and more fundraising for the venture. He said filming should continue through the summer, and he is aiming for a 2014 release.
“This has been a big undertaking and I couldn’t have done it without your help,” Hendrick told the audience that included Mundy Sr., Riepe, Rockaway author Vivian Carter, Queens Council on the Arts Executive Director Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, MoMA PS 1 Director Klaus Biesenbach, Council members Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park). Dozens of Rockaway residents attended the screening as well.
“Certainly after the storm, there’s more to be told,” Hendrick added. Those who took part in the film praised it.
“We couldn’t be happier to be working with Dan and to make this film happen,” Mundy Sr. said. “I’m very excited to see what happens with it.”
The film is being produced independently by Hendrick, who said he and the crew were still fundraising to finish the project. Filming continued even on the day of the trailer’s premiere, with the documentary’s director, David Sigal, joining Riepe on a marsh restoration project off Broad Channel.