Film Screening: "Dead in the Water"

Saturday, February 10

2:00 p.m. Lectures, Readings, Films

Dead in the Water

Dead in the Water is presented in collaboration with the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association.

Produced and directed by Rockport native and professional filmmaker David Wittkower, this compelling documentary film tells the story of the destruction of the New England fishing industry. $8 CAM members / $10 nonmembers. Space is limited; reservations required. A panel discussion with film participants will follow each showing. Purchase tickets online at Eventbrite or call (978)283-0455 x10 during business hours. For further information please email

Showtimes: 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Purchase tickets for 11:00 a.m. show

Purchase tickets for 2:00 p.m. show





Two and a half years in the making, “Dead in the Water” is Wittkower’s fifteenth documentary film. It was shot in different coastal towns and features scenes and interviews with area fishermen, their spouses and other family members; advocates for fishermen; elected officials; and community activists. “This film opens the doors for the world to see how difficult and dangerous the life of a fisherman is,” said John Bell, a former three-term mayor of Gloucester (2002 -08). “On top of that, the impact of misguided federal regulations on fishermen has never been presented as powerfully as it is in ‘Dead in the Water.’ This film packs a real punch. It stays with you long after you’ve seen it.” The film also includes the song, “Gloucester Harbor Shore” by Grammy® Award winner, Paula Cole.

Wittkower, a graduate of the American Film Institute in cinematography, describes “Dead in the Water” as an examination of the “relentless destruction of the New England ground fishing industry through government regulations, bad science, and the growing, but mistaken, belief that everything has been overfished and there aren’t any fish left in the oceans.” The idea for the film came from a casual conversation he had on a sidewalk in Gloucester three years ago. “I was back in Rockport on a visit(Wittkower has lived in Los Angeles since 1981) and I drove into Gloucester and noticed there were very few fishing boats in the harbor,” Wittkower said. “I asked someone, ‘Where’s the fleet?’ and he said, ‘What fleet? The fleet’s been dwindling for years, and this is what’s left.’” Wittkower started asking more questions about the plight of the town’s fishermen and was soon directed to Angela Sanfilippo, the longtime president of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association. Sanfilippo encouraged him when he raised the possibility of telling the story of the vanishing fleet of ground fishing boats and their crews on film.

“I could see that David was sincerely interested in this topic,” said Sanfilippo, “and I quickly figured out he had the skills and track record to make a serious documentary on it, a film that could generate a lot of interest, here and elsewhere.” The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association decided to help and support Wittkower as much as possible. “The first time I saw the rough cut of ‘Dead in the Water,’ I knew we had done the right thing,” said Sanfilippo. “this is something special.”

The screening at the Cape Ann Museum is kicking off a tour throughout Massachusetts, Maine and other coastal states. The film has been accepted as the Official Selections into the Depth of Field International Film Festival competition under three categories: Documentary, Direction and Cinematography. To learn more about the film visit

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