Shored Up Research Center

Shored Up Research Center

Welcome to the research center for the film “Shored Up”! We hope to enrich your educational experience so we invite you to take some time to look over the material we’ve assembled on this page for you.

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Ben is a film director and producer whose work focuses on the intersection of science, culture and the environment. He directs and produces original documentaries, narrative shorts and cross-media projects as well as client-driven video productions. Ben has worked for years with Niijii Films on the documentaries Two Square Miles and A Sea Change, two award-winning films which have been successfully deployed for environmental justice and education, and both of which have been nationally broadcast in the U.S. His most recent project is Shored Up, which explores the Army Corps’ controversial and ongoing beach replenishment project along the New Jersey Shore. In addition to his documentary work Ben has won several international awards for his short narrative film Diorama.[/su_tab]
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THE NEW YORK TIMES
“SOUTH FLORIDA FACES OMINOUS PROSPECTS FROM RISING WATERS”

“In the most dire predictions, South Florida’s delicate barrier islands, coastal communities and captivating subtropical beaches will be lost to the rising waters in as few as 100 years.”

THE NEW YORKER
“THE BEACH BUILDERS”

“Had the barrier islands never been developed, they would form natural buffers between the sea and the mainland. But, as America’s infatuation with the beach grew, so did the value of proximity to it.”

VANITY FAIR
“FROM COAST TO TOAST”

“At opposite ends of the country, two of America’s most golden coastal enclaves are waging the same desperate battle against erosion. With beaches and bluffs in both Malibu and Nantucket disappearing into the ocean, wealthy homeowners are prepared to do almost anything—spend tens of millions on new sand, berms, retaining walls, and other measures—to save their precious waterfront properties.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES
“WHERE STREETS FLOOD WITH THE TIDE, A DEBATE OVER CITY AID”

“The Broad Channel project offers a preview of the infrastructure outlays that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is envisioning as part of a new $20 billion plan to protect the city’s 520 miles of coast over the next decade from rising sea levels.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES
“COURT SIDES WITH TOWN ON PRICE OF VIEWS LOST TO DUNE”

“The ruling is expected to make it much easier — and less expensive — for towns to proceed with a $25 million dune reconstruction project meant to protect homes built along fragile barrier islands.”

NEW YORK MAGAZINE
“LIQUID CITY”

“For 400 years, New York has embraced, spurned, ignored, harnessed, and feared the water that made its greatness possible. Now our relationship must get even more complex.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES
“TENSIONS SWELLING AS BEACH ERODES”

“There was a bigger issue underlying the back-and-forth: How far should government go in allowing landowners to protect their beachfront properties, given that many solutions, like building hard beach barricades, can in some cases cause worse erosion nearby?”

ROLLING STONE
“GOODBYE, MIAMI”

“By century’s end, rising sea levels will turn the nation’s urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin.”

THE ECONOMIST
“COASTAL CITIES AND CLIMATE CHANGE: YOU’RE GOING TO GET WET”

“Hurricanes and storms are nothing new for Florida. But as the oceans warm, hurricanes are growing more intense. To make matters worse, this is happening against a backdrop of sharply rising sea levels, turning what has been a seasonal annoyance into an existential threat.”

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The Ties That Bind

The Ties That Bind

a film by Su Friedrich
55 minutes, B&W, USA, 1984, 16mm
DVD includes: English and German subtitles, Chapter Markers and Bonus Film “The Lesbian Avengers Eat Fire, Too”

File under: All Films, Film Studies, Home Video, Su Friedrich

Synopsis

The Ties That Bind” is a powerful meditation on political responsibility and personal loss as seen through the story of the filmmaker’s mother, who grew up in Nazi Germany. Using rare archival footage, extensive interviews and critical commentary, Friedrich constructs a fearless dialogue between past and present, between mother and daughter. “The Ties That Bind” engages in a profound search for an understanding of history, and challenges us in our responsibility for the present.

Plus Bonus Feature Film

THE LESBIAN AVENGERS EAT FIRE, TOO
a film by Su Friedrich, co-directed by Janet Baus
55 minutes, color, USA, 1993, Video

This film documents the first year of actions by The Lesbian Avengers, a group of bold and brazen New York City activists fighting for recognition and equal rights for lesbians everywhere. We recruit!


Reviews

“‘The Ties That Bind’ is one of the most moving and profound films about the mother-daughter relationship. Blending documentary and experimental modes, Friedrich investigates her mother’s background as a German citizen during WWII–an issue that has vexed her daughter during her youth. While her mother is shown on-screen and is heard acoustically, the filmmaker remains “silent” but voices her thoughts through titles scratched into the film emulsion. In so doing, Friedrich creates a beautiful and powerful film in the tradition of Michelle Citron’s earlier ‘Daughter Rite.’  Lucy Fischer, Professor, University of Pittsburgh

“The best of New Directors/New Films…The film is an original, a moving and courageous tribute from a child to a mother’s beleaguered memory.” David Edelstein, Village Voice

“On every level, Friedrich’s films are resonant with thought and craft.” Scott MacDonald, Film Quarterly

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Sink or Swim

Sink or Swim

a film by Su Friedrich
48 minutes, B&W, USA, 1990, 16mm
DVD includes: English, French, Spanish and German Subtitles, Scene Selections,  and Two Bonus Films “Cool Hands, Warm Heart” and “Scar Tissue” 

File under: All Films, Film Studies, Home Video, Su Friedrich

Synopsis

A contemporary classic and a landmark in autobiographical filmmaking, “Sink or Swim” is an unflinching account of the highly charged relationship between a daughter and her father. Through a series of twenty-six short stories, a young girl chronicles the childhood events that shaped her ideas about fatherhood, family relations, work and play. As the stories unfold, a dual portrait emerges: that of a father who cared more for his career than for his family, and of a daughter who was deeply affected by his behavior. Working in counterpoint to the forceful text are sensual black and white images that depict both the extraordinary and ordinary events of daily life. This formally complex and emotionally intense film is fraught with tension, ambivalence and love.

Plus Bonus Films

COOL HANDS, WARM HEART
16 minutes, Color, USA, 1979, 16mm

“Filmed on the streets of New York’s Lower East Side, ‘Cool Hands, Warm Heart’ creates a unusually original vision. Friedrich builds on proverbs, metaphor, and the principles of a radical feminist imagination, creating a world in which women’s private rituals become public spectacles.” B. Ruby Rich, author, Chick Flicks

SCAR TISSUE
12 minutes, B&W, USA, 1978, Super 8

“…powerful and economic. Setting out to film street activity, Friedrich ends up with basically two images – women’s legs skittering in high heels, and men’s midsections, hands folded self-righteously across stuffed shirts or planted belligerently in pockets¯the film left me with a yen to see one of those heels planted splat in the middle of one of those bellies.” Amy Taubin, The Village Voice

Reviews

“Tough-minded and touching…affecting and accessible.” Caryn James, New York Times

“Wonderfully accessible…funny and sad. Splendid.”  Janice Berman, New York Newsday

“Proudly personal and triumphantly artisanal, as accessible as it is uncompromising.” J. Hoberman, Premiere

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Seeing Red

Seeing Red

a film by Su Friedrich
27 minutes, Color, USA, 2005, Video

File under: All Films, Film Studies, Home Video, Su Friedrich

Synopsis

“Seeing Red” is one of Su Freidrich’s most deeply personal films to date.  Friedrich takes a look back at her evolution both as a woman and as an artist, tackling her own insecurities via several on-camera diary entries. While “Seeing Red” is a film about the existential crises of the individual, it is also a film about what unites all humanity and what unites humanity with all the matter surrounding us. Friedrich accomplishes these two objectives using three elements: monologue, montage, and music.

The monologue element consists of Friedrich’s own video diary footage, a technique most famously utilized in her 2002 film “The Odds of Recovery,” in which Friedrich documented the development of health problems she was having at the time. In “Seeing Red” as in “The Odds of Recovery,” these monologues reveal the filmmaker’s refreshingly blunt voice while allowing her to vent some of her most inner frustrations about both her personal and professional life. Friedrich’s rants run the gamut from lamenting her lack of control over her own emotions, to comparing her “performance” for the camera and for the people in her life, to voicing her fears about what her video production students really think of her.

The film oscillates between these reflections on Friedrich’s personal uncertainty and footage of the color red in its many shades and forms. The filmmaker masterfully weaves images of pink flowers, red birds, orange construction machinery, red neon lights, and countless other places where she sees red, focusing mainly on the red clothing of many faceless New Yorkers. These montage sequences are united with Friedrich’s diary footage through Bach’s “The Goldberg Variations,” a calming piano piece that punctuates the movement of life.

Though at times dark and cynical, Friedrich often brings us to laughter in discussing her existential dilemmas, making us realize that they are also our own. In the film’s climactic ending, Friedrich is able to triumph over own limitations, deciding that she can let go, take chances, reinvent herself, and surprise herself, urging us to do the same.

Reviews

“‘Seeing Red’ is as personal as many of Friedrich’s best autobiographical films and videos, but here the diary takes on a more worldly view, informed by the wisdom of age. Su Friedrich is an angry young woman, only she’s not so young. That is part of the reason she is seeing red. Friedrich asks what it means to be an artist in a debased world, a world in which things are perpetually unfinished and incomplete, and the house is always messy. She hides herself in and behind the details of everyday life, most of which are surprisingly red. Bach, Whitman and Dickenson provide a backdrop for her desire to transcend the mundane, which she does, simply by finding the beauty of small things in the world around her. Friedrich’s sense of humour meets her existential dilemma with passion and intimacy. Don’t let her flippant tone deceive you; this is a major work.” Catherine Russell, Professor, Concordia University

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Riot Acts

Riot Acts

A film by Madsen Minax
72 minutes, color, USA, 2009
DVD includes: Closed Captions, Chapter Markers, Bonus Scenes

File under: All Films, Art and Music, Civil Rights, Health, Home Video, LGBT Studies, Music

Synopsis

“Riot Acts” is a “trans-fabulous” rockumentary representing the multi-dimensional lives of transgender and gender variant musicians. A first-hand perspective of the intersections between gender performance and stage performance, “Riot Acts” suggests that identities and bodies are undeniably political, and the journey within a trans experience isn’t always one of tragedy, but one of creativity and joy.

Reviews

“What director Madsen Minax doesn’t do is label the performers. ‘Riot Acts’ spotlights and identifies the names of a wealth of artists…but the movie never tries to shoehorn them into the biology-is-destiny square pegs of mainstream mediaspeak…’Riot Acts’ is one of those few documentaries that succeeds because of what it choose not to tell you.” Baltimore City Paper

“‘Riot Acts’ enthusiasm is infectious!”Jason Barker, London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

“‘Riot Acts’ discusses the realities of being a trans musician with the kind of candidness that only a ‘by us for us’ project allows…!” Baltimore Radar

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The Odds of Recovery

The Odds of Recovery

a film by Su Friedrich
65 minutes, Color, USA, 2002, 16mm
DVD includes: English and Spanish Subtitles,  Scene Selections, Bonus Films “Head of a Pin”

File under: All Films, Health, Home Video, Su Friedrich

Synopsis

After a twenty year period of multiple illnesses and injuries, Friedrich turns the camera on herself as a way to analyze her chances for a happier, healthier life. In the process, she captures the frustration, tedium and petty annoyances of a revolving-door relationship with the medical establishment, while portraying the complicated web of emotions that accompany any medical problem. With humor and honesty, ‘The Odds of Recovery’ uses the filmmaker’s medical history as a means to address a perennial human problem: the desire to avoid conflict and deny the need for radical change.

Plus Bonus Film

THE HEAD OF A PIN
a film by Su Friedrich
21 minutes, Color, USA, 2004, Video

“The Head of a Pin” reveals the awkward ruminations of the filmmaker and her friends as they attempt to learn about nature. Starting out as an examination of the differences between urban and rural life, the film turns unexpectedly into a wry portrait of what happens when city dwellers encounter a country spider.

Reviews

“…plays with the genre of the self-portrait…all in interwoven layers of narrative…allows us to see a life and a relationship through these transparent and yet illuminating layers.” Brian Kiteley English & Creative Writing, Duke University

“Friedrich makes flinty and form-minded, extremely pragmatic, highly personal, affecting movies.” J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

“Friedrich’s latest feature takes a sometimes discomfiting but engrossing, good-humored look at her own long history of medical problems…Deftly assembled pic captures the frustration, tedium and petty annoyances of a revolving-door relationship with medical practitioner..”Recovery” [also] nicely limns the satisfaction brought by creativity in the kitchen and garden, with latter’s seasonal changes providing an overall conceptual frame…Nearly one-woman package is confidently assembled, with plenty of hands-on authorial flavor.” Dennis Harvey, Variety

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Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek

a film by Su Friedrich
65 minutes, B&W, USA, 1996, 16mm

DVD includes: English and Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selections, Two Bonus Films “Gently Down the Stream” and “But No One” 

File under: All Films, Home Video, Su Friedrich, Women Studies

Synopsis

‘Hide and Seek’ tells the story of Lou, a twelve year old girl coming to terms with her budding sexuality in the mid 1960’s. Her bittersweet tale is skillfully interwoven with clips from a wide array of scientific and educational films, as well as interviews with adult lesbians who recount their adolescent attractions to girls, how they felt when they first heard the word lesbian, where they fit in the butch/femme continuum, and their thoughts about how they became baby dykes. ‘Hide and Seek’ is for every woman who’s been to a slumber party and every man who wonders what went on at one.

Plus Bonus Films

GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM
a film by Su Friedrich
14 minutes, B&W, USA, 1981, 16mm

“‘Gently Down the Stream’ can be described about as easily as you can hold on to a handful of water. When the last image leaves the screen, you may not be able to say what you’ve seen, but you know what you’ve felt.” Stuart Klawans, The Nation

BUT NO ONE
a film by Su Friedrich
9 minutes, B&W, USA, 1982, 16mm

“The visual material of ‘But No One’ corresponds to the waking world of the filmmaker, but it is cast in the form of a dream. Its compact constellation of repeated images is satisfying, an important part of Friedrich’s ongoing exploration of film’s ability to work like dreams and convey a unique, personal vision.” Janet Cutler, Women’s Experimental Cinema: Critical Frameworks

Reviews

“‘Hide and Seek’ is rueful, funny, multifaceted and sharply intelligent.”Stuart Klawans, THE NATION

“‘Hide and Seek’ is ‘A Girl’s Own Story’ for lesbians. Friedrich has woven a rich and provocative tapestry that assaults complacent assumptions about pubescent desire and lesbian identity, all the while raising important questions about the representation of racial and sexual fantasy life…Thoroughly engaging from beginning to end.” Yvonne Rainer, filmmaker and Professor, UNIVERSTIY OF CA, IRVINE

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Damned If You Don’t

Damned If You Don’t

a film by Su Friedrich
42 minutes, B&W, USA, 1987, 16mm

Languages: English, German

File under: All Films, Film Studies, Home Video, LGBT Studies, Su Friedrich

Synopsis

“‘Damned If You Don’t’ is Friedrich’s subversive and ecstatic response to her Catholic upbringing. Blending conventional narrative technique with impressionistic camerawork, symbols and voice-overs, this film creates an intimate study of sexual expression and repression. Featuring Peggy Healey as a young nun tormented by her desire for the sultry irresistible Ela Troyano.

Plus Bonus Films

RULES OF THE ROAD
a film by Su Friedrich
31 minutes, Color, USA, 1993, 16mm

‘Rules of the Road’ is the story of a love affair and its demise through one of the objects shared by the couple: an old beige station wagon with fake wood paneling. Through spoken text, popular music and images from the streets of New York, ‘Rules of the Road’ takes a somewhat whimsical, somewhat caustic look at how our dreams of freedom, pleasure, security, and family are so often symbolized by the automobile.

FIRST COMES LOVE
a film by Su Friedrich
22 minutes, B&W, USA, 1991, 16mm

Friedrich’s film is a sumptuous and deeply felt examination of the timeless ritual of marriage. Gorgeous footage of four traditional weddings captures the emotional ambiguities of a cultural event with which everyone is familiar.


Reviews

“‘Damned If You Don’t is a real prize. Beautifully shot in black and white, it blends conventional narrative technique with impressionistic camerawork, symbols and voice-overs to create an intimate study of sexual expression and repression. The film is as hypnotic as a dream.” Andrew Rasanen, BAY WINDOWS

“The film energizes feminist deconstruction by locating it within a context of at least two forms of (redirected) film pleasure: the excitement of melodramatic narrative and the sensuous enjoyment of cinematic texture, rhythm and structure.” Scott MacDonald, FILM QUARTERLY

“Passionate, genuinely innovative…a lyrical evocation of the mystery of memory and the development of sexual identity.” Amy Taubin. THE VILLAGE VOICE

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She’s a Boy I Knew

She’s a Boy I Knew

By Gwen Haworth
70 minutes, color, Canada, 2007
DVD includes: Closed Captions, Chapter Markers, Bonus Scenes

File under: File under: All Films, Film Studies, Health, Home Video, LGBT Studies, Urban Studies, Women Studies

Synopsis

They say that when someone comes out of the closet, they can’t stop talking about it. Vancouver filmmaker Gwen Haworth not only talked she made a movie. Using archival family footage, interviews, phone messages, and hand-drawn animation, Haworth’s documentary “She’s a Boy I Knew” begins in 2000 with Steven Haworth’s decision to come out to his family about his life-long female gender identity. The resulting auto-ethnography is not only an exploration into the filmmaker’s process of transition from biological male to female, from Steven to Gwen, but also an emotionally charged account of the individual experiences, struggles, and stakes that her two sisters, mother, father, best friend and wife brought to Gwen’s transition.

Under Haworth’s sensitive eye, each stepping stone in the process of transitioning becomes an opportunity to explore her community’s and our own underlying assumptions about gender and sexuality. When Steven starts to wear his wife Malgosia’s clothing, she struggles with whether Steve “wants to be with me or to be me;” when Steven changes her name to Gwen, her father comments, that’s “when I realized I lost my son;” Haworth’s gender reassignment surgery, or vaginoplasty, forces her sister Kim to grapple with her own experiences in the medical establishment and raises questions about the implications of the medicalization of gender.

In these tender and difficult moments, “She’s a Boy I Knew forces us to question our own assumptions about the role that names, clothing, and anatomy play in our constructions of gender identity. As her transition progresses, Gwen is forced to reckon with the end of her marriage and the loss of her status as son and brother. But in doing so, she also discovers that while the nature of personal relationships may change, the love and support present within those relationships can remain just as powerful and sometimes even more so.

At turns painful, funny, and awkward, “She’s a Boy I Knew explores the frustrations, fears, questions, and hopes experienced by Gwen and her family as they struggle to understand and embrace her newly revealed identity.

Reviews

“Honest, intelligent and absolutely clear-eyed. Unlike most autobiographical docu helmers, Haworth has a degree in filmmaking, and her thorough understanding of the medium results in a well-edited portrait smoothly interweaving talking heads with home movies while steadily moving forward both chronologically and emotionally. Humor is another unexpected plus, picked up on by brief animated segments (‘How to Be a Girl’, etc.) that provide just the right amount of leavening.” Jay Weissberg, Variety

“Witty, brave, and vulnerable, Haworth gave us the most affecting and memorable documentary of the year.” Vancouver Magazine

“Haworth creates an emotional space that engulfs the viewer in a way that’s extremely rare in any film, whether fiction or non-fiction.” Kevin Griffin, The Vancouver Sun

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Sex in an Epidemic

Sex in an Epidemic

a documentary by Jean Carlomusto
61 minutes, color, USA, 2010

File under: All Films, Civil Rights, Health, HIV/AIDS, Home Video, LGBT Studies, Women Studies

Synopsis

By focusing specifically on the need for honest comprehensive sex education, this engaging documentary provides a sociocultural perspective on the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its ongoing impact on the most effected populations including the gay, African-American and Latino communities. Incorporating interviews and media footage from the earliest days of the AIDS panic through the present, “Sex in an Epidemic” reminds us that, though the world has been living with the realities of HIV/AIDS for nearly 30 years, ignorance and prejudice about the disease must still be combated.

Reviews

“‘Sex in an Epidemic performs the important work of remembering a lineage of queer AIDS activist work that aims to de-stigmatize sex and that continues to have relevance now even as it must be transformed by work in a range of different communities, including people of color, prisoners, and those outside the U.S.” Ann Cvetkovich, Professor, University of Texas, Austin

“In ‘Sex in an Epidemic,’ Jean Carlomusto, a doyenne of AIDS activist video, creates a haunting and elegiac history of US safer sex (video) activism and education. Taking up (and using clips from) the form of Carlomusto’s earliest activist work for GMHC’s groundbreaking cable access show,  ‘Living With AIDS,’ Carlomusto re-animates the lost AIDS activist community of the 1980s and 1990s by editing their radical accounts and actions into a vibrant testimony to one community’s radical efforts at life-saving education. ‘Sex in an Epidemic’ is a moving testament to the power of remembering, representing, learning, and activism.” Alexandra Juhasz, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, Pitzer College, or AIDS TV: Identity, Communtiy and Alternative Video (Duke 1995).

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