Sea Venture Film To Premiere Tonight At BUEI

May 27, 2014

In honour of Heritage Month, LookBermuda is getting set to premiere a film documenting the Sea Venture and its historic wrecking on Bermuda’s shores.

Following being featured as the opening night local film for the Bermuda International Film Festival, the film, named The Story of the Sea Venture: Downing’s Wreck, will have its official premiere tonight [May 27] at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute [BUEI], followed by its first public screening on Thursday, May 29, also at the BUEI.

Executive Producer J-P Rouja said, “After five years in production, this will serve as the official release of the film whilst we continue developing the curriculum modules in conjunction with public and private school educators.”

“The film reviews the period of colonial expansion and the events of 1609 that led to the settlement of Bermuda before turning its attention to more recent times and the account of the Sea Venture’s rediscovery in 1959, her identification, and the study of her surviving timbers.

“The study of the Sea Venture straddles a fascinating period in maritime archaeology, from its inception to the present day use of computer modeling techniques, each step shedding new light on Bermuda’s most celebrated ship wreck.”


“In the process, we explain the history and culture of diving and salvage in Bermuda which, at its inception, was one of the cornerstones of our economy, bringing in much needed foreign currency.

“Detailed mapping of the Sea Venture’s timbers, a rare Elizabethan shipwright’s manuscript, and modeling software has allowed researchers to extrapolate the missing timbers and, for the first time, allow us to see what the Sea Venture really looked like.

“Further analysis with ship design software at the University of Southampton has demonstrated that her hull was exceptionally well-designed and built specifically for the conditions of an Atlantic crossing – this allows us to address one of the key assumptions regarding the Sea Venture story – that her hull was not fit for purpose.

“Historians have theorized that her deficiencies resulted in her being ‘swallowed up’ by the storm, leading to the ship’s demise. The archaeological research, however, concludes that it was the fact that the hull was of such good design that she survived an incredible three and a half days in a hurricane, able to deliver her passengers safely to Bermuda and start over 400 years of our history.

“This project was initiated with the help of a grant from the 2009 Charitable Trust to create what was initially intended to be a 25 minute film primarily for educational use. However, once we began researching the topic it became clear that a much more detailed [50 minute] and higher quality film would be required to do this most important topic justice.

“This project has compiled all existing media assets related to the Sea Venture both internationally and locally, sourced from archives, museums, image libraries, BBC archives, National Geographic archives, and private collections. This was an exhaustive process and included tracking down 32-year-old film reels in the United Kingdom of BBC interviews which we rescued and converted. This alone took 18 months.”

“Now, with the completion and release this year of the final portions of the ongoing archaeological research that we have been documenting, the results of which have yet to be made public, we are now able to finish the film.

“This resulting film is being produced in HD to broadcast standards, setting a new benchmark for local films of this type.

“We have thus far shared draft versions of the film with public and private school educators, for whom the chapter-based structure of the film was specifically developed, who have all confirmed that it will be embedded in their curriculums, ensuring its use for years to come with generations of students. Bermuda High School, in fact has insisted on starting to use the draft version.”

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Category: All, Entertainment, Films/Movies, History