JAWSFEST! Celebrities, fans, and original Cast and Crew gather for a tribute to the film Jaws
Nearly four decades after the blockbuster thriller-cum-cult classic Jaws was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a tribute to the film — and to sharks — is planned on the island, Aug. 9 to 12. JAWSFEST will feature presentations by original cast and crew members, an exhibit of Jaws memorabilia, an afternoon of family fun and the chance to ride a three-story shark slide, and a tribute to actors Robert Shaw and Roy Scheider and author Peter Benchley, followed by a screening of the film. The Shark Savers organization and several shark experts will deliver shark-conservation presentations and raise funds for shark conservation.
Steven Spielberg’s second film, Jaws was shot entirely on Martha’s Vineyard during the spring and summer of 1974. The film included the memorable line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” a suspenseful soundtrack (dun-dunh, dun-dunh) and three mechanical sharks that malfunctioned often (divers had to retrieve one of the sharks after it capsized and sank in 35 feet of water). For more information, go to jawstribute.com.
Jaws will be available in high definition on Aug.14. The Blu-ray Combo Pack is priced under $30, and also includes the original trailer, deleted scenes and a documentary narrated by Roy Scheider. This summer, you can preorder on amazon.com.
I love everything about Jaws, but as a conservation biologist, I used to feel guilty about my secret feelings. After all, isn’t the movie credited with demonizing sharks in popular culture? I was honored to be asked to help launch Summer for the Sharks as part of the 2005 JAWSFEST. I met residents who had been extras in the film and local shark advocates. And the amazing thing about it all was that it made sense: combining shark conservation and celebrating the film.
In 1995, author Peter Benchley said: “I couldn’t write Jaws today. The extensive new knowledge of sharks would make it impossible for me to create, in good conscience, a villain of the magnitude and malignity of the original.... If I have one hope, it is that we will come to appreciate and protect these wonderful animals before we manage — through ignorance, stupidity and greed — to wipe them out altogether.”
Shark Savers will return to Martha’s Vineyard in August for JAWSFEST, and I look forward to continuing to work with the community to make Martha’s Vineyard synonymous with not only the film Jaws but also with its new legacy — combining the best of shark pop culture with the power of conservation and education.
— Samantha Whitcraft, marine conservation biologist