by Holly FISHER
1968 / 16mm / color / sound / 1S / 63' 00

In 1968 myself and co-director Romas V. Slezas filmed the annual Skipjack Race off the coast of Annapolis, Maryland, focused especially on local folk hero skipjack Captain "Daddy Art" Daniels, who won that day. Over the next three years we filmed Daniels, his family, his Afro-American crew, and his colleagues catching oysters, at home, singing & preaching in church, high school graduation, last sail maker (Wenona, MD), three generations featured (1967) on Maryland TV station, i.e. the passing of a way of life on the Chesapeake Bay. The film tells a simple story of the watermen who work the last sailing fleet of workboats in North America and it is perhaps also the story of Manifest Destiny as it is playing out in an isolated pocket of American culture.

Slezas and I worked as a cinema vérité team. We filmed over three years, beginning in 1966, returning when we had funding to continue. The film has no outside narrator, and is carried by stories lived and/or told by the characters themselves. In the fall of 2009, I returned to Wenona to film Captain Daniels, now in his late 80s, who would skipper one more Skipjack Race. By now Daniels had become a local legend, and was featured in multiple T.V. interviews plus a local Deals Island parade riding in a red convertible. Two of Daniels’ sons are still catching oysters in the traditional way, though his oldest son is also a local country western singer who broadcasts especially to other fishermen; his youngest son had become a well-respected and fiery preacher.


distribution format Digital file on server (NTSC)
screen 1,37 - Standard (single screen)
speed 29,976 fps
sound sound
rental fee 188,00 €