- Official Website
- Portrait, Culture, Society, and Docutainment
In a run-down campground off the coast of Virginia, tenants live spitting distance apart in rows of rust-bitten RVs. Beneath a few white trash stereotypes lies an improbable utopia named Inlet View, where residents value simple pleasures and friendships are treated like gold. Sadly, their self-created paradise has been sold to a developer. It was only a matter of time: Inlet View’s assets read like an overwritten sales brochure. But the real magic of the place is the people. The blue-collar campers hold tight to their final days in the sun. The upscale crowd that moves in will never be as wealthy.
- Show treatment
The sun rises over a trailer park that has seen better days. A mishmash of RVs line dirt roads filled with potholes. A woman opens up at the general store. Glimpses of postcards and souvenirs are accompanied by the racket of laughing gulls. As their rough surroundings come to life, several residents recount hilarious, shaky first impressions. “Our pet name for it? The armpit of America.”
The red roof of the general store reads INLET VIEW. Inside, a resident stops to chat and complain about summer traffic. The morning quiet is pierced by a man igniting a homemade cannon. “I would never invite any of my friends here,” states a woman nearby.
Across the way, another woman offers a rebuttal. She rattles off the family members that are her neighbors. The litany is added to by others who are literally surrounded by life-long friends. One couple laughs about how their plan to remain autonomous was ruined by the community’s harmony. Against the backdrop of a beautiful bay that stretches to the Atlantic, the daily cycle of endless visiting is under way.
The woman at the store answers an uneasy phone call. “Yeah, it’s closing down after the first. It’s going to be redeveloped.” Two moms at the pool corroborate the shocking news: “I was hoping somebody would make it nicer, not throw everybody out.” “It just breaks your heart.”
An intimate tour of the campground’s clap-trap structures starts with a kitchen invaded by possums. “But, it’s workin’ out. We’ve been here 21 years.” A ten-year-old gives a tour of his Grandma’s trailer. A mom wonders aloud if she should bother adding to the mural she painted for her kids. “No reason I can’t enjoy it until September.”
Grills are scrubbed and tiny patches of garden are watered. An outsized man with a ZZ Top beard throws a blow-out. Everyone makes their way to his deck - sunburned and tattooed, toting kids and dogs and PBR. Away from the action, two older women recall how their camper came with a free crock pot - as if they had won the lottery. A neighbor confirms the fragile affordability of Inlet View, comparing it to a place his parents took him as a kid. “You got to be on the water for hardly any money. Now it’s all these big, fancy homes.”
The day ends with a stunning, orange sunset that fades into a darkness pierced by the blaze of welcoming campfires. Stories and singalongs and endless laughter float through the night air.
After a stormy day of nickel poker, the sun comes out again. A woman from the card game says the trailer park saved her after her husband died. Her neighbor - and best friend - says exactly the same thing. Stories of grandfathers making fried bologna sandwiches and building docks lead to a sad realization: future generations will be lost. A young woman chokes up as the reality of leaving the home her father assembled from construction scraps starts to set in.
Some families pack up early. Hand-written FOR SALE signs appear on every other camper. A resident mowing her neighbor's grass is resigned. “That’s how life is. We have our sad moments and then we make some new ones that are happy.”
The children spend every second in floaties and flippers; the adults spend every waking minute together. As shadows grow longer, hope fades that the deal will fall through. Close friends recount fifty years of epic practical jokes. Cold cuts and deviled eggs arrive at group potlucks. The former ATF officer sets off his remaining stash of fireworks. The finale tints the rickety docks in a heavenly light. Someone whispers soberly: “Yeah, it’s home.”
September finally arrives. One by one, the kitschy structures empty out. The few trailers that can be extracted leave behind wounded patches strewn with cement blocks and PVC pipe leading nowhere.
Half of the tiny homes are already leveled by the time the excavator tears through the row near the public dock. To get to the next spot, the pitiless machine drives right over the rubble. One more anecdote is disclosed over the emptiness. A visitor was nicknamed The Dutchess by her family, because she hated the campground. When she died of breast cancer, she asked for her ashes to be spread at Inlet View.
- in post-production
- Amy Nicholson ... Producer Director DP
- Laura Israel ... Editor
- John Young ... Editor
- Prod. Co.
- Myrtle & Olive
- United States
- Years of Production
- Chincoteague Island, VA
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