Documentary filmmakers Keif Roberts and Peter Haas aren’t out to change anyone’s mind about the topics they cover.
They just want people to think.
“Our films are so none-directive and don’t openly push a point of view.” explains Roberts, a 1990 Bellport High School graduate who’s now living in Queens. “All we want is critical thinking, for people to think about and explore these issues. If that’s all that comes out of our films, I’d be happy with that.”
Their latest film, The Breach, just earned admission into the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival in Sag Harbor. The 32-minute documentary focuses on the debate over whether or not to close the strip of Fire Island near Old Inlet off Bellport that was ripped open during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Featured prominently in the film is a Bellporter who says he loves the breach as much as his wife and daughters and would do anything to protect it. The pair also talks to Blue Point residents still homeless after Sandy, and who insist the breach is to blame for the bay water creeping ever closer to their homes. They also interview a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official who says the let-nature-take-its-course approach is the stuff of fantastic idealism.
“I guess one of the major things, or themes, is the ideal versus the practical,” Roberts said. “Should we let nature take its course or should we step in to protect people’s property? Another theme that emerges is, is our government really listening to us? Who is listening. And are certain people not being listened to?”
The pair said they couldn’t quite say if more people, after viewing their film, would come down on one course of action or another when it comes to handling the breach.
“We never want to make propaganda for anybody,” Haas said of this and their other films, which includes a feature-length piece about the carriage horses of New York City. “We’re more invested in people’s feelings and the state of their emotions as they’re going through something.”
The film festival runs from Dec. 3 through Dec. 6 at the Baystreet Theater in Sag Harbor.
“This is the debut,” Roberts said of the December screening. “So we’re excited. We’re going to have some more showings around the island, but we don’t have anything solidified yet.”
The filmmakers said they’d likely be showing The Breach in conjunction with scientific or environmental groups.
Learn more about the film and the filmmakers by clicking here.
Featured photo: The Sandy victim in The Breach identified as Deanna.