While technology pushes forward, there is a rising trend of cod fishermen off the coast of Fogo Island using traditional fishing methods that date back to the 1600s. Director Justin Simms showcases these methods and the move towards sustainability in his short HAND.LINE.COD. Simms answered a few questions about his short and the positive outcome of the methods shown. The short screens as part of Short Cuts Programme 10 at TIFF 2016.

Describe your film in 10 words or less.

Fishers on Fogo Island engage in a secret mission.

What inspired you to make this film?

Admiration for the people creating the Fogo initiative. I believe in their cause, a more sustainable method of fishing. It seems so simple from the outside, but they’re actually providing a roadmap that could, theoretically, have positive implications globally.  

What was the best thing about production? Most challenging?

Being on the ocean with the fishers was the best part. Seeing first-hand how gruelling and brave what they do is. And how they do it with such grace, and wit. It was truly a privilege to be out there. I certainly hope audiences feel that too– the visceral thrill of being in the boats.

Although technology continues to move ahead, do you think a demand for more natural methods, like those shown in your film, will continue to grow in popularity?  

As long as they can be profitable, yes. That’s the key to these old-school, more sustainable methods: maintaining growth. The products have to be good products of course, but as the world has shown us over and over, that’s not enough. They have to be economically viable as well.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about your film?

It was shot with just a two-person crew, myself and D.O.P. Andrew MacCormack. 

What will you be working on next?

I’m finishing a six-part anthology series for the web called Sex in Cars. 

Your film is screening at TIFF. What are you most excited about seeing or doing at this year’s festival?

My favourite thing to do at TIFF is to see films. Especially Canadian and international stuff. Two genres we get painfully little of in Atlantic Canada.

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