Charlotte - Poster

The poster for "Charlotte: A Wooden Boat Story"


Genre: Documentary
Directed by: Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte
Produced by: Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte
Links: Charlotte: A Wooden Boat Story || The Official Website
Trailer:

Synopsis
CHARLOTTE is a film about an extraordinary boatyard, the Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway, located on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Ross Gannon and Nat Benjamin established the boatyard in 1980 with the purpose of designing, building, and maintaining traditionally built wooden boats, and in the process they transformed Vineyard Haven harbor into a mecca for wooden boat owners and enthusiasts. After a long career of designing and constructing boats for others, Nat embarks on building a 50 foot gaff rigged schooner for use by his family and friends — her name is Charlotte. Through close observation of the everyday activities of the boatyard, the film emerges as a meditation on tradition, craftsmanship, family, community, our relationship to nature, and love of the sea.


Full Synopsis

CHARLOTTE is a film about an extraordinary boatyard, the Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway, located on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Ross Gannon and Nat Benjamin established the boatyard in 1980 with the purpose of designing, building, restoring, and maintaining traditionally built wooden boats. Over the ensuing decades Ross and Nat have played an essential role in preserving and extending the art and craft of wooden boat building.

The film begins as Nat embarks on building a 50 foot gaff-rigged Schooner for use by his family and friends — her name is Charlotte. Charlotte is being built from Nat’s original design, using traditional plank-on-frame, all wood construction. He has been preparing to make this boat his entire adult life, accumulating the experience, know-how, and resources that would allow him to construct the boat of his dreams.
The film portrays the everyday activities in and around the boatyard. Much of the work is mundane, repetitive, and confusing to the uninitiated, while other work demonstrates moments of singularly inspired craftsmanship and ingenuity. Those who work at the boatyard are bound together in mutual support, friendship, and shared mission; the friends, family, enthusiasts, and clients who drop by sustain the boatyard, materially and spiritually.

After decades of preparation, and three and a half years of construction, Charlotte is moved from the shed. The launch of Charlotte is the climax of the film. Hundreds of people turn out, some traveling thousands of miles to attend the event — many have no direct relationship to the boatyard, they have come to support its work and celebrate the enduring tradition of wooden boatbuilding. The film is a character study of the processes, people, and the boats themselves, but ultimately what emerges is a meditation on tradition, craftsmanship, family, community, and love of the sea.