Frank Weiss, a native of Wildwood Crest and a junior Visual Communications major at Stockton College, traveled to Belize, a small country bordered by Mexico and Honduras, in July of 2011. He arrived with his camera and a diverse assortment of wide angle and telephoto lenses, tripods, and additional video equipment. After five days, he returned with over 1,000 gigabytes of video footage.
Over the past few months Weiss has been editing the footage he captured in Belize, and Scott Stagliano, a Wildwood native and a 2009 Stockton graduate, has been writing the text for the narration of a film. “The Road is Coming” is a documentary that captures the culture, environment, and political state of Belize and touches upon its history.
The film, approximately 30 minutes, will premiere at the Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton College on Thursday, February 23, 2012, at 5 p.m. In addition, the twenty best images from the production period will be on display at the Museum.
“The Road is Coming” promises to take viewers on a journey through the jungles and inside the thatched-roof homes to reveal the lifestyle, food, work, and leisure of the people of Belize and the wildlife of the beautiful natural settings in the region.
The film briefly examines the constant changes in culture in the Central American country as a result of the continual influence of Western society. Spanning from its colonial period as British Honduras on to modern day Belize, the film explores the country’s distinctive ecosystems, its indigenous Mayan culture, its developing tourism and petroleum industries, and its volatile political and social climate.
Interviews with the Ketchi Maya people living in Laguna Village, as well as anthropologists and William Schmidt, founder of the Travel Ecotourism Association (TEA), are featured throughout the film.
Weiss, a visual adventurer, channels his love for nature and humanity into his work, capturing both the stunning beauty and the desperate social problems of the young, undeveloped country.
The project was inspired by Grace Boswell, a native of North Wildwood and a volunteer with the Peace Corps. Boswell worked with the Ketchi Maya people in Laguna Village for more than two years, 2009 through 2011, as an elementary education teacher trainer. The Noyes Museum sponsored the production of the documentary and obtained a grant, making the project possible.
The premiere is part of the Noyes Museum’s Art at Night series, which offers a variety of activities during the Noyes’ extended hours on Thursday evenings. Weiss, Stagliano, and Boswell will be present at the event and will lead a discussion following the film.
The event is free with admission to the Noyes Museum, and Stockton students with an ID receive free admission to the Museum.