Friday, February 25, 2011

Belize- tiny country with a lot of character.

Only a couple more weeks until we are off to Belize!  Our travel agent stopped by for a visit to go over our itinerary for the week.  We will be arriving at Belize City Airport on March 12th and making our way to Independence for 4 nights with a welcome dinner at Hotel Hello.  For the next three days we will be spending it at Linda Thornton’s three farms, Cardelli, Aqua Mar and Haney, where we will start production.   From the 16th to the 19th we will be spending it at Pelican Beach in South Water Caye where we will be experiencing the Belizean lifestyle.  

South Water Caye is a private island only 15 acres in size.  It's a tiny island that's bordered by a variety of colorful coral reefs. This will be a great time to shoot some b-roll, do underwater filming, photograph and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.  

Researching and collaborating ideas are extremely important when getting ready to film a documentary.  This is all a part of the preproduction process.  During class time we went over presentations that some students put together.  We talked about different species of shrimp and the differences between an intensive, semi-intensive, and extensive farm (if you are curious these farms vary in amount of shrimp per volume of water among, amount of labor and maintenance required, and water exchange among other factors).  We also discussed the past, present and future of shrimp farming. 

We never really considered how much work it takes to grow the shrimp in farms that end up on our dinner plates. It is a pretty complicated process especially when the farms have to adhere to strict environmental standards.  Different parts of the world raise their shrimp differently, so for the sake of this documentary we focused our research specifically to Central America.  The shrimp arrive in the post larvae stage where they are raised in hatcheries. From the hatchery they move to a grow out pond that allows them to grow to the desired size. This process usually takes a few months. The shrimp are then harvested by using nets to scoop them from the water or by sometimes draining the pond.  The prime time to harvest shrimp is October before the waters drop in temperature, however many farms now have more than one harvest throughout the year.

With all the different processes out there, our documentary’s purpose is to understand how the Belizean shrimp farms operate so efficiently while being environmentally friendly.  Eco-friendliness is not just a trend in Belize, but rather a lifestyle.  We discovered this when researching our accommodations. The hotel where we will be staying while shooting the interviews at the farms does not have electrical outlets in the rooms. This was our main concern because we have so much equipment to charge during the week. Fortunately, the owner of the hotel has been kind enough to let us recharge our batteries in their office.  We have a feeling some of the girls might be sneaking their blow dryers into the office. 

With that being said, another experiment we will be monitoring is how a group of college students will do after being disconnected from technology for a few days. No texting, no Facebook updates and no tweets. Let’s hope everyone charges their iPods before departure.  Stay tuned….

1 comment:

  1. I've taken >100 US college students to Belize over the years. You'll have a lot of fun, but make special effort to get to know local people who were born and grew up in the communities you visit. --Erik