Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) will premiere the new grant-funded documentary film, ‘Hidden History of Lake St. Clair,’ at a special fundraiser event on Thursday, Feb. 15 at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. The event, which will benefit the Noble Odyssey Foundation and the Macomb Chamber’s new Blue Economy Committee, is open to the public, with tickets now on sale.
“We’ve been working on this project for several years and the film for an entire year now, and I am so pleased with the results,” said Gerard Santoro, program director, parks and natural resources, MCPED. “Our filmmakers and historians have done a phenomenal job uncovering information and documents that relate to Lake St. Clair and local settlers from the 1800s. We’re focused on some stories that have truly never been told before. So attendees will walk away with new knowledge of, and hopefully new appreciation for, our lake and gateway to the Great Lakes."
“Lake St. Clair is one of Macomb County’s greatest assets, so it’s incredible to have the opportunity to create this film and document why the waterway matters so much for our region and state,” said County Executive Mark Hackel.”
The film focuses on the search for the remains of the Village of Belvidere and the Church of St. Felicity, two early settlements believed to have been consumed by the rising waters of Lake St. Clair around 1855. Researchers, historians and archeologists have worked for decades to find artifacts and supporting documentation regarding the sites, but water levels and other factors have made this challenging. Hidden History filmmaker Robert Krepke showcases this in the documentary.
“This documentary video was exciting to create,” said Krepke, a noted film director, Ford Motor Company’s corporate historian emeritus and an award winning documentary filmmaker. “Lake St. Clair is very unique, it boasts the largest freshwater delta in the world. Great imagery depicts this fabulous freshwater treasure in the underwater search for the lost town of Belvidere and the Saint Felicity Church. This film takes the audience on an adventure through aerial photography, underwater photography, and much more as it highlights the remarkable features of Lake St. Clair.”
The film serves to educate viewers about the settlements, but also the larger story of Lake St. Clair and its ongoing significance. Capt. Luke Clyburn, president of the Noble Odyssey Foundation, is featured in the film and contributes to this narrative by sharing his work with young people on the waterway. “The foundation was created to develop a maritime interest with American youth,” he said. “We are going into our 52nd year of training teenaged cadets about the Great Lakes. Lake St Clair is in the center of the world's greatest fresh water system and our research this past year is to tell the unknown story of the water. The summer has been busy with cadets using scuba diving equipment to look under the waters of Lake St Clair and to film this wonderful history. This film has been made to go into the school systems and help to develop young people's interest in caring for our Great Lakes.”
The Noble Odyssey Foundation is a beneficiary of the film premiere alongside the Macomb Chamber’s new Blue Economy Committee. Both organizations aim to promote and protect Lake St. Clair for generations to come.
“Lake St Clair is such an important resource,” said Kelley Lovati, president and CEO of the Macomb County Chamber. “It attracts people, offers recreational opportunities, and has economic impact to Macomb County. The community’s response to this documentary is a testimony to the role Lake St Clair plays in all our lives. To continue to protect and further develop access to Lake St Clair, the Macomb County Chamber is excited to spearhead the new Blue Economy Committee. The goal of this committee is to bring local business owners and elected officials together to discuss the importance of Lake St. Clair to the local economy and develop a multilateral strategy. We welcome anyone interested in joining the committee to reach out to the Chamber.”
Tickets are currently on sale online for the Feb. 15 event. The cost is $15 for general admission. Immediately following the film, MCPED will lead a moderated discussion with Krepke, Capt. Clyburn, Wayne Lusardi, an underwater marine archaeologist for the State of Michigan, and Dan Harrison, a maritime archaeologist for Wayne State University. The entire evening runs from 5:30-8 p.m. and will be hosted by Macomb Community College at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.
Organizers are currently seeking sponsors. Those interested can contact email@example.com for additional information.
Financial assistance for this project was provided by the Michigan Coastal Management Program, Water Resources Division, EGLE, with funding through the National Coastal Zone Management Program. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations in this film are those of the grantee and do not necessarily reflect the views of EGLE and NOAA.