Documentary in Production: Emeralds of the Sea

Despite the serious toll hurricanes Irma and Maria took on the U.S. Virgin Islands, young people have shown their ability to be courageous and collectively resilient. Emeralds of the Sea weaves together three powerful stories that offer a powerful example of self determination through events that have profound impacts on a person’s psyche, their attitude, and their overall well being.

In production in 2018-2019.


Artist message from Dee Wells, FFM Co-Founder:

Having grown up in USVI and experiencing multiple hurricanes myself, the most devastating being Hurricane Hugo in 1989, I know what it was like to be without electricity for six months and communications for three months. I learned how a community pulls together. Since our family had a community restaurant, we cooked food for the community and teams. We rotated between restaurants to meet the needs of the entire side of the island.  I can relate personally, and can remember the experiences directly. For this current situation I can see who is stepping up in the community, how leaders are using their own resources. For these reasons I have a unique insider’s perspective as a filmmaker.

Also, because my family and friends are very involved in the community, I have significant access to leaders and youth activists.

Some of the creative techniques I envision employing will include flashbacks using archival footage from older storms; drone footage and in situ interviews.  We have excellent local music to draw from the soundtrack. A calypso reggae band has offered their music, including a great song about the storms. We will also feature youth’s drawings and paintings. In terms of storytelling, we will bring powerful first person perspectives.  We are considering including how our youth filmmakers experience the stories of the protagonists. For example, our Broll Supervisor, Evensly “CJ” Phard, left Haiti after the earthquake (2010) and experienced floods, walking miles to find a place to sleep. His empathetic response to youth being interviewed could add depth.

The documentary style will bring not only what people saw and heard during the storms, but what they felt in a way that is relatable to others experiencing catastrophe and hardship.


Check back soon for more information.