Pieces of Tangier
Reel and Meal celebrates 10 years of engaging documentaries, vegan dinners, lively discussions and community fundraisers this Monday, September 18th, with a free screening of Pieces of Tangier and as a special bonus, native Pocomoke, Marylander, and filmmaker, Jenny Roberts, will be on hand to introduce the film and answer questions from the audience. The celebration begins at 6:30pm with an optional vegan dinner; screening starts at 7:00pm.
Reel and Meal and the New Deal Café have been mutually beneficial partners over the past 10 years. When Reel and Meal began, it was instrumental in raising rent money for the New Deal Café through its monthly program. Today, Reel and Meal thanks the New Deal Café for 10 years of hosting its film series and for serving delicious vegan meals! We also appreciate the loyal support of our wonderful audience and Greenbelt community for the past decade that has made possible the longterm success of Reel and Meal.
Ms. Roberts, an Ohio University Film graduate (class 2013) received an Indie Award of Merit for her documentary Pieces of Tangier, which she directed as her master’s thesis project while at OU. The awards go to filmmakers who produce fresh, standout entertainment and compelling documentaries honoring professionals, established and emerging, who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity.
Pieces of Tangier tells the story of Tangier Island, VA – a disappearing island in the Chesapeake Bay – and the people who live there. The film has recently been mentioned in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Daily Mail, and the Huffington Post following a story of the island featured on CNN after Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.
Roberts says, “Everyday pieces of Tangier Island disappear into the Chesapeake Bay due to erosion. Without a seawall, eventually, the island will be gone (some experts estimate within the next 50-100 years). To build a seawall, money and full government support is needed.” She decided to dedicate her thesis documentary project to spread awareness about this problem. The film is a series of personal portraits of the people on Tangier. Being from a small town myself, I understand how the charms of a specific place are like the quirks of a person- they are something you can’t put your finger on. Tangier Island is a strong community that has existed for hundreds of years without much outside influence. It is my hope that real steps will be taken toward a secure plan against land erosion, including finding the monetary and government support for a seawall, and that in the process, the charms and quirks of Tangier Island will remain.”
Residents of Tangier were displeased with the CNN story and felt it was an inaccurate portrayal of the cause of the island’s disappearance. After the piece aired (and three years after the completion of the film), Anna E. Pruitt-Parks, a Tangier town council member, started a GoFundMe drive to raise money to purchase 550 copies of Ms. Roberts’ documentary to deliver to every member of Congress, as well at POTUS, VPOTUS and other federal officials. “[Jenny’s] done a phenomenal job — that tells our story. The documentary tells the tale Tangier residents would like others to know about. It is the first long-form documentary made about Tangier’s erosion problem.”
Ms. Pruitt-Parks began the fundraiser the same day Tangier Mayor James “Ooker” Eskridge received a telephone call from President Trump after he viewed the CNN news story about the island. Trump told the mayor “not to worry about sea-level rise,” according to Eskridge. “He said, ‘Your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.'”
Since the phone call from Trump and the CNN story aired, the island and Pieces of Tangier have received much national – even international – attention. Pruitt-Parks hopes members of Congress, or their staffers, will take time to view it to get a clear picture of what Tangier needs to survive. Tangier residents believe that erosion – not climate change – is to blame for their disappearing way of life.
The debate continues on whether climate change and seal level rise or erosion is to blame for the disappearance of Tangier Island.
To meet the filmmaker, visiting from Asheville, NC, please join Reel and Meal’s 10th anniversary celebration on Monday.
Reel and Meal is sponsored by three community groups, Beaverdam Creek Watershed Watch Group, Green Vegan Networking and Prince George’s County Peace & Justice Coalition. For additional information on this month’s screening, contact Cam MacQueen at or Susan Barnett at , 301 474 7465.