When last we spoke with filmmakers Darby Duffin and Adam Jones back in the winter of 2015, they said they were close to completing their fishing documentary film, "Fish & Men," and envisioned a premiere sometime later that year.
Now, after more than four years of scraping together capital — or reaching into their own pockets — to finance the project and after a long series of private screenings to tighten the film's structure, the two filmmakers insist they really are close to buttoning things up and making the long-awaited film available for public consumption sometime in the fall.
"I'd say we're dangerously close to finishing the film, certainly closer than we've ever been," Duffin said Monday. "We're closing in on the finish line."
The film, in its first act, uses Gloucester and its fishing tradition as a touchstone toward analyzing the rise of the global seafood industry and its ultimate impact on both the U.S. commercial fishing industry and the health and choices of American seafood consumers.
When Duffin and Jones began filming in 2013, the documentary was one of three fishing-centric, Gloucester-prominent documentaries in the works. Filmmakers David Abel, Scott Laub and David Liss were hard at work on "Sacred Cod" and Rockport native David Wittkower was about to embark on "Dead in the Water."
Those two cinematic projects are long completed.
"Sacred Cod," which chronicled the demise of the New England cod fishery in the face of overfishing and climate change, enjoyed a solid run in theaters and made its television premiere on The Discovery Channel in 2017.
"Dead in the Water" went through several edits as it barnstormed around coastal New England, telling the Gloucester story. Most recently, it was shown this spring to strong reviews in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Meanwhile, Duffin and Jones kept plugging away at "Fish & Men."
"We always knew this was going to be a challenging film," Jones said. "We're trying to draw the connection between the fishermen and the seafood purveyors and consumers."
Duffin described the film's ambitious scope as "striking a balance of realism" by going beyond a simple gloomy narrative on the demise of the grand Gloucester fishing fleet as counterpoint to the emergence of the global seafood industry.
It presents an array of viewpoints from fishing stakeholders, regulators, seafood dealers and conservationists. The goal, according to Duffin, is to allow the audience to make up its own mind about the issues confronting the industry and the consumers it serves.
"Our film offers some paths forward for some improvement for the fishing industry and fishing communities," Duffin said.
The two filmmakers are back with a second round of crowd-funding — the first was a Kickstarter campaign, the current is on Indiegogo — to help raise $50,000 for some of the final touches, such as editing, graphics, licensing archival footage, finishing the original score, sound design, color correction et al.
"We're hoping to have the film ready to screen in October or November," Duffin said.
They've already submitted it to numerous film festivals, hoping for just the right invitation from just the right to festival to premiere the film and potentially secure a sale or distribution deal.
And once it's ready, they plan to bring the film back to Gloucester for its local premiere and possibly additional showings.
The film's trailer features a litany of familiar faces, including local fishermen Russell Sherman and Richard Burgess, former NOAA administrator John Bullard and former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. It also features the Gloucester waterfront and the waters off Cape Ann in all their iconic glory.
"That was one of the challenges, connecting Gloucester fishermen to the global sweep," Jones said.
Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT.