Documentary on NC's Down Easters debuts; free screenings in Raleigh

bcain@newsobserver.comMarch 12, 2013 

A new documentary by a group of filmmakers from N.C. State University about the cultural and economic struggles of a community of Down East commercial fishermen in Carteret County, premieres this week with free public screenings in Raleigh.

Neal Hutcheson, an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker on the faculty at N.C. State, produced and directed “Core.Sounders” with executive producer Walt Wolfram, a distinguished professor at N.C. State.

The film debuts Thursday night at the N.C. Museum of History and will play again on Saturday on the N.C. State campus.

“Core.Sounders” tells the story of people in what Hutcheson calls “one of the most unique cultural and ecological areas in North Carolina, and maybe in the United States.”

Hutcheson points out that the Core Sound watermen profiled in the film are a people who have lived in that part of Carteret continuously since the 1700s, the whole time making their living from the water and developing a unique understanding of their environment.

“It’s a community being challenged on all sides by economic issues, changes in the fishing trade, encroachment of people from outside coming in and buying second homes,” Hutcheson said. “It’s the end of a chapter in their history, but to connect it to the engagement with the natural world, it’s sort of the end of a chapter of human history as well. We’ve isolated ourselves from the environment in so many ways.”

UNC-TV plans to add the film to its schedule later this year, and DVDs will be released by the end of April.

Hutcheson is the producer and director of “The Last One,” an Emmy Award-winning documentary about Appalachian moonshiner Popcorn Sutton, and has collaborated with Wolfram on several cultural documentaries about North Carolina, such as “The Carolina Brogue” and “Voices of North Carolina.”

“Core.Sounders” is part of the North Carolina Language and Life Project at N.C. State, a program established by Wolfram to document and celebrate the state’s linguistic and cultural heritage.

Seating for Thursday night’s free screening of the one-hour film, which is followed by a panel discussion with fishermen and an anthropologist from Down East, has been filled.

Seating is still available for a Saturday screening at the Witherspoon Cinema on the N.C. State campus at 3 p.m. That event will include an introduction by Wolfram and a Q&A with the filmmakers. It is free and open to the public.

Cain: 919-829-4579

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