New documentary explores the disappearance of the Apalachicola wild oyster

New documentary explores decline of Apalachicola wild oysters
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 4:42 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Tallahassee based film crew is set to unveil their years-long project with the world.

‘Unfiltered: The Truth About Oysters’ will make its world debut Wednesday at the Sarasota Film Festival. It’s an in-depth look at the decline of the wild oyster in Apalachicola Bay.

WCTV sat down with the film’s director, Josh McLawhorn, and executive producer, Chucha Barber.

The two embarked on their journey four years ago. McLawhorn said all he knew about oysters was how great they tasted with a lemon squeeze or hot sauce.

Now, he knows all about the complicated history of how wild oysters started to die out. The film touches on the reasons why, but also makes a point to keep it centered on the fisherman who have been harvesting for generations.

McLawhorn said he’s honored to share their story.

”When somebody shares something so personal, it’s not something we take lightly,” he said. “So, we really made an effort to be genuine in the way we present their stories. I’m just so grateful they were willing to present that with, frankly, strangers.”

In July 2020, the state of Florida issued an emergency ban on all wild harvesting of oysters in Apalachicola Bay in hopes the oysters would rebound. The ban is set to last through 2025.

Barber said it was important not just to leave viewers with a sense of dread without any reason to hope things might change one day.

They talked with a number of experts in the field to explore what possible solutions are out there to bring back a treasured part of the Big Bend’s culture.

The film will make the local film festival circuit. The hope is it will get picked up by a streaming service as it gains more exposure.