Laura Seltzer

Filmmaker Laura Seltzer

(This is a guest post from Lexy at KissMyCountry.com)

“My goal is to produce films that inspire change.” – Laura Seltzer, Documentary Filmmaker

KissMyCountry wrote about Laura Seltzer a few weeks ago in our posts on the Bethesda Green Fields of Green Internship Fair. We now get to know Laura better through her most recent work, ‘Last Boat Out’. Enjoy!

Laura Seltzer, award-winning producer and documentary filmmaker, uses her talents to help to make a difference in people’s lives. Her work has taken her many places, including foreign countries and inside the world of mental illness. Laura’s latest film, ‘Last Boat Out’, highlights the watermen of the Chesapeake Bay, whose way of life is threatened by pollution and development. For Laura, it’s a chance to make a difference that’s very personal. Laura grew up on the Chesapeake Bay and knows both the Bay and the lives of the watermen firsthand.

Last Boat Out

'Last Boat Out' premieres April 21 on PBS. Join Bethesda Green for a group viewing, April 21 at Hard Times Cafe.

“I grew up boating on those waters. My family had a boat on Deep Creek . We would spend the whole summer on the boat”, Laura says. “I watched countless sunrises on the James River. The workboats would come in and you would see this gorgeous glow on the water.” When Laura learned the last local pier in Newport News used by the watermen would be torn down, she took action. “I took my camera and went down to the pier. Losing the pier meant more than a chunk of wood. The watermen grew up on the pier, their fathers grew up on the pier, and their grandfathers grew up on the pier.” Laura’s action and the cooperation of the Chesapeake watermen led to ‘Last Boat Out’, a 27-minute film.

The film sparked a response among supporters even before its premiere on MPT on Wednesday, April 21. Sam Waterston asked to narrate the film after hearing about it through Oceana. The Congressional Water Caucus, interested in the water quality of the Chesapeake, organized a Congressional Viewing at the Capital on April 14–-a first for Laura and her films. “It was so gratifying to not only show my film on the big screen in our nation’s capital but to have those who influence public policy view my film”, Laura said after the screening.

“The film is right on target”, says Tommy Leggett, a Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration and Fisheries Scientist, and for years a working waterman himself. “Every emotion the watermen feel in the film, I have felt. Every decision they struggle with, I have struggled with. They’re in a tough, tough spot.”

Laura is thrilled that ‘Last Boat Out’ is receiving attention already, and hopes the film motivates people to push for change for the better. “It’s great to have the cachet of a showing on PBS or a viewing by Congress, but if people don’t use it to help save the Bay then what use is it?”. Laura decided to become a documentary filmmaker after working in commercial photography and then film production after attending film school at NYU. “I volunteered on a documentary and that was my turning point. I wanted to make films that inspire people and I’ve been doing that for 15 years. My goal is to produce films that inspire change.”

Bethesda Green will host an evening with Laura Seltzer on April 21 at Hard Times Café from 7-9:30 p.m. Laura, you’ve done a great job and we can’t wait to see ‘Last Boat Out’. We’ll be there at the Hard Times Café on April 21!

Bethesda Green is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located on the second floor of the Chevy Chase Bank Branch at 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200, Bethesda, Maryland 20814. Bethesda Green will host a Premiere Party on Wednesday, April 21 from 7-9:30pm at the Hard Times Café for Laura Seltzer’s PBS documentary “The Last Boat Out”, about Virginia’s Watermen and the Chesapeake Bay, narrated by Sam Waterston. Suggested donation for the Premiere Party is $10 to go toward education programs for Bethesda Green and communities throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Please RSVP to attend the Premiere Party to Melissa (at) SeltzerFilmVideo.com or 202-210-4689.

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