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Holding Back the Tide

Country: United States, Language: English, 77 mins

  • Director: Emily Packer
  • Writer: Josh Margolis, Emily Packer
  • Producer: Liz Beeson, Julia Lewis, Josh Margolis, Emily Packer, Benjamin Stillerman, Trey Tetreault

CGiii Comment

"A docu-poetic meditation on New York's oysters and their transformations in the face of an uncertain future."

A woman swallows a pearl. A subway car falls to the ocean floor. A deluge bursts through the cracks of New York City. In every borough, oyster shells are pried open and carefully returned to sea. A chorus of farmers, diners, sous chefs, fishmongers, activists, and landscape architects colloquializes the oyster's many lifecycles. These educational snapshots about the bivalve's ecological role, mating habits, communal living, and historical presence take on new meaning and flirt with the mythic. Underwater dances and poetic addresses blend the human and nonhuman worlds. The oyster as a water filter, carbon capturer, storm barrier, and habitat maker transcends its environmental promise and becomes a queer icon of New York City's unlikely survival story. Retracing cyclical ecologies for the largest metropolitan area in the United States calls upon an existential reimaging of a sustainable future. Out with the narratives of bootstraps and capitalist urban individualism; in with the water-bound, the intergenerational, the queer collectivity. Once New York City was built by the oysters. Now, it is built anew.


Trailer... here

Cast & Characters

T.L. Thompson
Thomas Annunziata
Hilary Asare
Meghan Dolbey
Hannah Lennon
Aasia Taylor-Patterson
Katharine Antonia Nedder
Robin Laverne Wilson
Marlena Ospina
Hannah Rego
Avery Nusbaum