Seward filmmaker begins shooting documentary of summer season

Film is planned to be about 45 minutes long

Posted: Friday, August 21, 2009

SEWARD - You've probably seen him, a beardish, burly guy slinking around town. Perhaps he's even followed you along the beach or as you strolled around the harbor.

Don't worry, he's not dangerous.

He just wants to shoot you.

Local filmmaker Joe Bronkhorst is working on a new project, "Summertime in Seward: A Video Documentary."

Bronkhorst, 38, hopes to chronicle the ordinary and extraordinary moments that take place during the all-too-short summer season.

He came up with the idea while on a computer job with a client in Lowell Point who mentioned that she owned a kayak service.

"That's when I realized I honestly had no clue what happens around Seward," he said. "I thought, OK, what does happen? And I decided to find out."

Bronkhorst moved to Seward from Valdez four years ago with his wife Annette and young son, who is now 5 years old. He started making films with a small digital camera when they lived back in Valdez. "I could only make slide shows," he said with a laugh. "But I soon became caught up in the passion."

It's this same enthusiasm that's fueling his Seward project. "I got out my camera, looked around and a whole new world opened up," he said.

He envisions a finished film of around 45 minutes in length. It's a lofty goal, he admitted, especially since over three weeks of shooting had whittled down to about 12 minutes worth of edited video.

"You do the footwork and spend hours getting the footage and then you come back home and do hours of editing and voiceovers," he said. "It takes a lot of time and energy."

Editing down a scene to a smooth flow is extremely challenging.

"I supposed everyone has a little bit of should-have-done-this in them," he said with a sigh. "And sometimes I think oh man, I should have done this or that, clipped here instead of there. But I tell myself that like wine, it will get better with time."

Bronkhorst has posted previous videos on the local blog, Seward City News, and high school basketball games, swim meets and the Polar Bear Plunge on YouTube. "Summertime in Seward" is the longest film he's attempted so far. Upon completion, he plans on sending a copy to the GCI local access station plus donate copies to the Seward Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses.

After that, he has his eye on a short documentary on the Jesse Lee home, before the planned restorations take place.

"There's so much history. It's haunting, you know, and that's what I want to show."

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