By DON CUDDY
NEW BEDFORD — It may not be Hollywood East quite yet, but the city’s fishing industry has begun to attract the attention of the film industry.
Two production companies are working on separate projects highlighting the difficulties and dangers of fishing offshore.
One crew is already in the city and was filming the lunch crowd at the United Fisherman’s Club on Wednesday. But producers were tight-lipped about the scope and content of their work.
“The network we are making this for would be very upset if it became public before they were ready to announce the new show,” a production assistant said.
However, The Standard-Times learned from waterfront sources that the project is a planned documentary, reportedly for the History Channel, about New England groundfishermen and will include boats from New Bedford and Portland, Maine.
Word is that a film crew has made trips out of Portland on the dragger Harmony and another crew has been out with skipper Sean Machie aboard the dragger Apollo, owned by Carlos Rafael. The Apollo is the same 76-foot steel dragger that made headlines when the government confiscated a giant bluefin tuna that became ensnared in its trawl last November.
The groundfish documentary, tentatively titled “Nor’eastermen,” will seek to portray how much of family life fishermen miss while away at sea, a source close to the production said. Filming has taken place in a private home, at St. Luke’s Hospital and dockside, while the fish is unloaded.
Meanwhile, a British company called Raw TV, based in London, is on its way to New Bedford to film a similar documentary about scallop fishermen. Raw TV plans to feature its fishing episode as part one of a three-part series focusing on dangerous occupations at sea. The other episodes will cover oil drilling platforms in the North Sea and ship’s pilots on the notoriously difficult Columbia River bar between Washington and Oregon, according to Raw TV’s Felicity Morris.
Two men from the Raw TV crew will embark on the 80-foot scalloper Incentive on Monday for an eight-day open area trip. Boat owner Charlie Quinn obtained a letter of exemption from National Marine Fisheries to take the men aboard, since government regulations limit scallop crews to seven men on trips to open areas.
“I thought it might be a good thing to get a little publicity for the city if it’s a documentary,” Quinn said,. “but I told them I’m not interested in a reality TV show.”
Initially, Raw TV approached the scalloper Endurance, which holds the trip record for scallops (62,000 pounds last April) against another city scalloper with the boats departing at the same time. But Endurance’s owner Armando Estudante said he had rejected that proposal as unsound.
“It’s hard enough out there,” he said. “We don’t need any distractions.”
February 09, 2012 12:00 AM
By DON CUDDY