Audiences at prestigious film festivals across the globe are learning more about the harvest of sea turtle eggs in the small coastal community of Ostional in Costa Rica. An artful documentary called “Between the Harvest” depicts the controversial practice of gathering and selling eggs, the livelihood for the community.
The visionary behind the film is Scott Drucker ’06, who directed and produced the documentary as his thesis project for a master’s degree at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts. “We spent three months filming on site and another 10 months editing,” says Drucker, who majored in English at North Central.
Why filmmaking, why Ostional and why turtle eggs? It all comes back to North Central, he says.
“I really enjoyed making films while was I taking a creative nonfiction class from (associate professor of English) Zachary Jack,” he explains. “I also felt a desire to make a difference in people’s lives by participating in Cardinals In Action and Junior/Senior Scholars. Those experiences really inspired me.”
After graduation, Drucker headed to Los Angeles to teach in a high-need school and then decided to attend film school. For his thesis, Drucker knew exactly what he wanted to produce—thanks to another North Central experience. “For study abroad, I applied to a program called ICADS—The Institute for Central American Development Studies—that involved an internship in Ostional. I helped create a library, started reading programs and showed films to kids.”
Fortunately, the townspeople of Ostional remembered him. They are sensitive to criticism about their practice of harvesting sea turtle eggs (banned elsewhere in the world) as a source of income. The raw eggs are typically served in bars and are considered to be an aphrodisiac. “I just wanted to illustrate the need for balance between the population and resources throughout the world,” he explains.
Drucker hopes the film will be accepted into a festival that qualifies it for voting for the Academy Awards. So far, it has been screened at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival, San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, 2011 International Sea Turtle Symposium in San Diego and the Parnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival in Estonia. He also envisions screenings by colleges and universities and speaking engagements. “I’m just trying to get the word out,” he adds.
North Central Now Fall 2011