by Jonathan Stack
There are two books that shaped my childhood. The first was Zorba The Greek, which I read while traveling to Greece in 1971. The second was Moby Dick, which I read in 11th grade. Both have challenged me and inspired me to live my life as an adventurer and storyteller.
This summer the memory of childhood reading was reignited while making the film The Last Catch. Something about the place, the people and the experience of being there at a time when everyone feared that their way of living might end. Fishermen challenging the elements. Life on the edge. The beauty of the sea contrasted with the ever present and strangely exquisite landscape of oil wells and rigs. Oil, plain and simple, is like the white whale. And all of this happening at the mouth of the Mississippi, where the fresh water meets salt water, brackish waters, a place where much of life begins…
And then there are the people. Eric Tiser, our main character is a larger then life person whose enthusiasm for life is unequaled. He is a living embodiment of Zorba, indomitable in spirit and always filled with faith that the next trip out will bring him fortune. While everyone has give up, he never gives in, and yet, each trip is fraught with danger and disaster.
Despite exhaustion and the difficulty of filming in a little boat, I find myself wanting to go out on another shrimping excursion, watching the water pass in the middle of the night, looking intently into the sea, wondering if the nets, this time, will come back full.
I don’t know what the impact of the BP spill will be on the waters or the people of Venice. I do know I want to come back again and again and go out for another trawl or another fishing trip.
Video Preview: “Fishing Where They Can”— Fisherman Eric Tiser takes his boat out for an unfortunately meager nighttime catch in the Gulf Coast.
Don’t miss After the Spill “The Last Catch“ premiering September 28th at 9P et/pt.