Series tracking the American Heart of Darkness picks Woods Hole Scientist for second episode

TheirOpenCall has netted a marine scientist from Woods Hole.  Fresh off a successful summer ofscreenings, Hit and Run History has chosen Rita OliveiraMonteiro to join them as they travel to Cape Verde this fall. 

Monteiro,a native of Lisbon, Portugal, works at the Marine Biological Laboratory inWoods Hole.  A NOAA research grantthrough the State University of New York at Syracuse brought the PhD candidateto Cape Cod to study how land use affects the marine environment.  Earlier this summer, she saw an ad onCraigslist, seeking for a Portuguese speaker to join a film crew headed to CapeVerde.  “This sounded like a greatopportunity and a lot of fun.”

Hit and Run History produced a pilot for theirguerilla-style history series this spring.  Instead of tackling one topic per episode, the GumshoeHistorians will follow it through several installments, part-travel show,part-documentary.  First on theiragenda is the Columbia Expedition – the first American voyage ‘round the world.

Thefilm was awarded Massachusetts Cultural Council Grants from the towns ofMarshfield, Wareham and Chatham.  Between May and August it was screened in nine locations, including theMartha’s Vineyard Museum, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, and thePilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum.

“Audiencesloved it,” said series creator and host Andrew Buckley.  “Not just the story of the ColumbiaExpedition – they really loved the on-screen chemistry of our crew.”

With such an enthusiasmresponse, in May Buckley announced in that Hitand Run History would continue the series.  This would mean following the Columbia Expedition to itsfirst stop on its groundbreaking voyage:  Cape Verde.  Aside from thechallenges of getting to and filming in the small archipelago nation off thewest coast of Africa, the crew faced a further obstacle.  None of them spoke either the officiallanguages of Portuguese or Kriolu (a creole derivative).

Basedin in Southeastern New England, with a large concentration of people of CapeVerdean, Azorean, Portuguese and Brazilian backgrounds, it made sense to makean open call for a new crewmember.  “They had to speak one of the two languages,” explained Buckley.  “We were also looking for a person whoeither knew the area, knew the history, knew the water, or have video orphotography skills.”

“And,”adds Assistant Director Matt Griffin, “we had to feel we could work and getalong with them.  A week overseasis a long time to spend with someone you just met.”

InJune, Hit and Run History announcedtheir Open Call through their fan page on Facebook and with the help of theirmedia representative, Past Preservers.  Joining Buckley and Griffin as a judge was Emmy-awardwinning videographer Jul3ia Astatkie.  Applicants came from all over the globe, with a wide range of skills andbackgrounds.

Itwas during a conference call on Skype that Monteiro convinced the judges.  “She’s a great photographer,” saidAstatkie.  “And she seemed verynatural and comfortable talking with us.”

The judges learned that besides English and Portuguese, Monteiro speaksSpanish, French and some Italian, and is a certified SCUBA diver. “It alsodidn’t hurt that she lives on Cape Cod,” added Griffin.  Ideally, the successful 

candidate wouldhave needed to be available for orientation and pre-production staff meetingsprior to the trip.

Monteirowas at her lab when she received the news of being chosen for the trip.  “I was surprised.  I didn’t recognize the number of thecall on my phone, and almost didn’t pick up. But,” she adds, “I’m glad I did.”

“She’sexcited for the trip, and we’re excited to have her on board,” saysBuckley.  “Our approach to historyis to show us having fun telling a story.  Audiences are responding to that.  And we’re going to have a blast in Cape Verde.”


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About Past Preservers:

PastPreservers was founded by archaeologist Nigel J. Hetherington in 2005 toprovide historical and archaeological consultancy and professional support tothe media industry.

PastPreservers provides expert opinion and counsel throughout the creative process,from conception to product delivery.

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