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We Will Stay

Tangier Island, located in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, has been shrinking because of climate change. Cameron Evans, a young local photographer and crab man, is completely set on a mission to document the life of the island to be remembered for the future and to create awareness about rising sea levels and climate change.

 

A Quick Q&A with Director Francisco Campos-Lopez

 

Considering the necessary actions documented at the end of the film and the slow rate of our country to take serious actions on climate change, what do you think of the future prospects of the people of Tangier Island? Will they, indeed, be able to stay?

FCL: I remain optimistic about them being able to stay. I believe that cultural preservation nowadays is vital. There isn’t a place like Tangier anywhere in the world, that also fosters a very unique financial reason, if you will — simply the best crabs in the US. The budget needed for this isn’t out of this world if you think about the massive amount of engineering that has to be done.  The solution has been on the table for years. This is not new. Bureaucracy is a natural barrier in these cases because the number of islanders actually living there is low and it doesn’t help numbers when discussng these things. And what Tangier Island people want to see happening there, is something that, for instance, has been done by The Netherlands for years, totally doable.

 

How did this project begin? How did you find your characters and this story?

FCL: I started hearing a lot about Tangier Island in the news. But I found that the same was being covered, over an over. In a way, I wasn’t pleased with some of the tone of the TV reports or clips. They often focus on the wrong aspects. I didn’t want to inform people, they can easily find the data and info about Tangier spending less than 5 minutes in Google. I wanted to show a different point of view of the island, show their islanders in an informal way, so the audience can understand how they think and who they are and learn how they are coping with the notion that their island is radically disappearing unless immediate actions by the State and the Federal government are rendered.

I found Cameron simply googling phone numbers in Tangier Island. I called the house of a very lovely lady, we talked for over an hour about it and I asked for a young person that can really talk about the island and Cameron was recommended to me. He’s a celebrity in the island, very committed with his people and with a moving love for the island. Also Cameron and I speak the same language –w e both communicate through images, so we bonded right away. I met the Mayor while I was there, also a terrific guy.

 

What do you hope the DCEFF audience will take away from the film? and/or What are some additional thoughts about the film that you would like to share with the DCEFF audience?

FCL: Like I said, I don’t like the typical point of view we often see in the press about the island. It’s not that relevant to me if they like Trump or not. And if they do, I want the audience to spend a bit in the life of Cameron and the Mayor and learn their problem not with a preconceived idea. We are not in a quest to make the islander believe or understand that this is a climate change effect. I want the audience to attain empathy to their cause simply listening.

 

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