What People Are Saying

The critics have spoken: Charlotte: A Wooden Boat Story is "an extraordinary film!" (George Jepson, WoodenBoat Magazine)

Charlotte has recently received a glowing review in WoodenBoat Magazine’s May/June issue, as well as being the subject of an insightful essay in Avalon Magazine. FilmMaker Magazine Online has also published a Web Exclusive interview with Charlotte director Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte.

Here are some excerpts:

From George Jepson's review in WoodenBoat Magazine, May/June 2012 (full review available to digital subscribers) :

“CHARLOTTE is a lovely portrait of a boatyard that connects ancient skills and methods, with a nod here and there to modern technology. This film is the next best thing to stepping into the G&B shop…”

“Filmmaker Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte beautifully portrays the boatyard’s day-to-day operations through changing seasons over nearly four years. Vignettes in the shop record the schooner’s progress from building her backbone, through planking and caulking her hull, finishing her interior and deck, to her celebratory launch under and azure New England sky. For me, watching the film conjured up memories of the resinous aroma of freshly cut wood, sawdust, paint and varnish – the smells of a working boatshop.”

“In CHARLOTTE: A Wooden Boat Story, director Kusama-Hinte and cinematographer Brian Dowley have captured the art of wooden boat building and the craftsmen who practice the trade. This is an extraordinary film, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in wooden boats or those who simply enjoy the creation of beautiful things. On dull days, when sailing isn’t an option, this is just the tonic.”


From Carol Dysinger's "A Labor of Love About A Labor of Love," Avalon Magazine, Spring 2012:

"This is how you make a film about community, traditions, things that cannot be bought and sold––but only earned through long, slow, patient work toward what you love, with those you love, on things you love.”

"You watch family, tradition, community, skill, and, most of all, the simple beauty of wood peeling into perfect circles when a man who knows what he is doing planes a beautiful piece of wood. There is no way I can summarize this movie for you. I can only describe the experience of watching it, being inside the creation of something so beautiful, so difficult, so requiring of craftsmanship, it is like you are building it yourself. And when that boat is launched, when that boat hits the water and the sails unfurl—you have never felt like this sitting in a movie theatre, ever."



From Scott Macaulay's interview with Director Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte, a FilmMaker Magazine Web Exclusive:

“It is precisely the love of artisanal creation that is celebrated in Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte’s Charlotte: A Wooden Boat Story, a verite doc chronicling the making of a 50-foot gaff rigged schooner, “Charlotte,” by a team of craftsmen working in a Martha’s Vineyard Boatyard. Focusing particularly on boat builder Nat Benjamin, Kusama-Hinte observes the painstaking and quiet work involved in building such an elegant craft over the several years required. In doing so, he eschews many of today’s accepted documentary strategies — pinning narrative on conflict, or allowing a character-based story to assume center stage. Instead, Kusama-Hinte focuses on the work, and he pushes us, the audience, to concentrate on its pleasures as well as its vexations, on the focus required to sustain it and the quiet satisfaction achieved by its final completion. With a lovely, Satie-like score by Paul Brill, Charlotte has a gentle, meditative power.”


Charlotte: A Wooden Boat Story is Now Available on DVD and Amazon Instant Video.

We're on Amazon Instant Video!

We’re finally joining the 21st Century: CHARLOTTE is now available on Amazon Instant Video! Stream the film instantly on your computer, TV or mobile device for $3.99 or own a digital copy for $14.99.


Stream the film on Amazon Instant Video: http://amzn.to/charlottestream

Buy the DVD: http://www.charlottethefilm.com/shop

Time for Reflection

One of the loveliest aspects of living a nautical life, be it as a sailor, boatwright or simply someone entranced by the idea of the open ocean, is the endless opportunity for reflection. The solitude of the waves, the mirror image of a brilliant sunset on the water, or the simple acts of craftsmanship leave one with time to contemplate what is truly important. In this spirit, we’ve chosen to highlight two clips from Charlotte: A Wooden Boat Story, where the boatwrights of Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway take a moment to reflect.

"What Were We Thinking?"

In this first clip, Nat and Ross look back at the Marine Railway’s humble origins as an idea that nobody wanted to invest in. Jokingly, they ask themselves “What were we thinking?” One of the crucial factors in Gannon and Benjamin’s success is their persistence and perseverance. They look back on the challenge of making handmade boats in an era where everything is slick and streamlined, following through on a dream that appeared in danger of being contradicted by everything around them.

"Making a Futtock"

In this second clip, Nat and boatwright Chris Rockwell take us through the steps of creating a futtock, or curved timber, for Charlotte’s frame. After completing the process, Chris pauses to reflect on the life of a wooden boat. More than just a piece of plastic, he feels a wooden boat is a living thing with a heart and soul. Chris observes how a wooden boat can have as varied and interesting a life as any person.