Four Thomas Nelson students are giving new life to the famed Bay Shore Hotel in a 20-minute documentary that will be shown for a second time on Saturday, April 27.
The documentary, called “Bay Shore Beach: The Forgotten Line in the Sand,” attempts to revive the memory of the iconic venue.
Bobbie Moore, the student leader of the documentary, said several “fortuitous” events led to the project. She remembers walking on the beach a few years ago with her “adopted family,” who told her stories of visiting the Bay Shore as children. When it came time to decide on a project for her eight-week summer course last year that would complete her Digital Video certificate program, she recalled that stroll on the beach and the stories.
The next fortuitous event was the class coincided with the City of Hampton’s dedication of a historical marker at Buckroe Beach where the fence used to separate the two beaches.
“That’s how we began,” Moore said.
Moore and her peers working on the project– Jerrelle Ocampo, Zion Payton and Carl Daniels Jr. – attended the June 23, 2018 dedication ceremony with cameras and microphones in tow.
“When we went there and started engaging folks, there were a lot of people who wanted to tell the story,” Moore said. “And it just went from there.”
The people they talked to referred them to other people, who pointed them in the direction of others, and so on and so forth. They talked with people who worked there, including a lifeguard, and people who stayed there or performed there. And some of the students, none of whom knew about Bay Shore before the project, learned family members used to frequent the place, also.
While that led to getting so many perspectives, which was a highlight for Moore, it also posed a small problem.
“When we started the project, I think we were looking at a 5- to 10-minute video,” Moore said.
“They just really dug deep into it,” said Cece Wheeler, Chair; Professor of Art Graphic and Media Design.
And, just as their interviews led them down more paths, the more they learned led to another problem.
“The hardest part was once you had so much of the story, how much of the story could you tell?” Moore said.
The group decided the documentary would tell the story of the hotel after the hurricane.
“1933 seemed to be the good place to start because you start the documentary with the question: You have this beautiful building, it’s destroyed, so what happens now?” Moore explained. “Then we go on to tell that it did survive, and here’s the history of the people who remember it from that time forward.”
After the students presented the project in Wheeler’s class, her reaction was “this needs to go outside the classroom. We need to screen this somewhere.”
The encore screening of the documentary and panel discussion will be held Saturday, April 27, at 4 p.m. in the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium, followed by a panel discussion featuring the students who developed the project and some of the people they interviewed.
The event is free and open to the public.
For more information about the documentary screening contact Cece Wheeler at firstname.lastname@example.org.