College of Charleston documentary highlights SC waterway

South Carolina coastThursday night SCETV will air “Slow Ride: The Life and Times along the SC Intercoastal Waterway.” The Center for Documentary at the College of Charleston’s Tim Fennell produced and directed the film and says it’s a story behind South Carolina’s waterway and various explorations.
“We focus on the South Carolina coast, and the interesting thing about it is it’s more than just a way to get commerce up and down from North Carolina to Georgia and vice versa. It’s people that live along the route, and people that work and live along the route, and also maybe people that do research along the route and also a people and things kind of thing,” says Fennell.
Tim Fennell, director/producerThe documentary was filmed in 2008. Fennell highlights one main feature of the film: “One highlight is the researchers that go up and down the waterway and look for pre-civil war rice-mill remnants and they just take the boat and they look for high ground. There’s no really maps that existed then from the pre-civil war era, just a couple of things they can go by. They’ll see some high ground and a couple of trees, and basically ram their boats into the reeds, there’s no paths, just truck through the reeds and they check and see if there are any rice-mill chimneys are old boilers,” says Fennell.
Another focus in the film is a family from Goat Island and what life is like.
“The Olricks. Goat Island is right across from the Isle of Palms and you can only get there by boat. So, it’s basically what life is like, a little ramped up Gilligan’s Island kind of thing, and a lot of nice people, nice homes, but you gotta get in that boat to go to school. Gotta get in that boat to go to the grocery store. So, we followed the family around for a little while to kind of get a gist of how that works,” says Fennell.
Also in the film is the College of Charleston’s Dixie Plantation, where the college uses it as a living lab for biology.
Fennell says the documentary project was thrown around as an idea for a couple of years, and they finally took action.
“It’s just a great idea. I think it’s easy to do, a little bit of coordination. It’s just being a producer and director here, the best thing I can do is picking up a camera and just escape for a few hours, so the idea of shooting along the waterway and the beauty involved regardless of the people, places and things is what really appealed to me. And then we did some research and found some really interesting stories,” says Fennell.
And for South Carolinians, Fennell says there could be something in the film to be learned.
“It’s basically turned into a way of life for a lot of South Carolinians. People rely on it, recreation has boomed, it’s one of the busiest waterways in the entire country because of South Carolina’s weather and recreation. And they might just learn something on your own backyard you’re not aware of,” says Fennell.
The documentary will air at 10 p.m. Thursday.