Documentary airs tonight

Published 12:41 am Thursday, June 24, 2010

Staff Writer

Two local film producers have created an award-winning film for UNC-TV that airs at 10 p.m. today.
Some people do what they love and have a good time at it. Blake and Emily Scott have been doing what they love for years and are having a blast with it. The Scotts, owners of Star Trak Recording Studio and STRS Productions, have won awards for their documentary “Refuge — Pocosin Lakes.”
“Refuge — Pocosin Lakes” is the second in a series of films that covers the national wildlife refuges in eastern North Carolina.
Blake Scott said the series concentrates on the wildlife that can be seen while visiting one of those majestic places, as a refuge is a geographic territory within which wildlife is protected.
“This film series is to show the importance of our refuge system and their hard work in animal and habitat conservation,” he said. “Our refuge system maintains millions of acres of wilderness and wetlands for endangered species and for those animals that thrive in numbers.”
“Refuge — Pocosin Lakes” explores the fascinating habitats and wildlife that abound at Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, a 110,000-acre refuge in eastern North Carolina.
“We captured the diversity of life and daily drama of nature through four seasons,” Emily Scott said. “You can see a drought, rain, a snow storm, winters privations, springs renewal of life, the fall migration of tens of thousands of wintering waterfowl and the most devastating wildfire in the state in 25 years.”
Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge has the largest American black bear population in the state, is home to the red wolf — one of the world’s most endangered predators — and is designated as a globally important bird area.
“We were fortunate enough to get Denis Kelly to narrate the film,” Blake Scott said. “She’s an award-winning narrator, and we’re very pleased to have her for our documentary.”
The documentary was filmed entirely on location. During the year it took to make the documentary, no scenes were staged, no blinds were used and no bait was put out to bring animals closer to the cameras.
Blake Scott said the film crew had been actively shooting since April 2008, enabling the crew to record a major forest fire that made for an interesting film presentation.
Emily Scott said majority of her work in the field relates to being in the right place at the right time to get that perfect shot.
“I want my films to represent the animals the way they are, not what people make them do,” she said. “I don’t want to give any misrepresentation of what these films are about. Our ultimate goal is to bring people back to eastern North Carolina.”
The couple contacted Scott Davies with UNC-TV regarding their documentary.
“He didn’t get back to us for a year,” Emily Scott said. “And when he called, he said after watching the documentary the entire production board sat for two minutes with their jaws dropped. They couldn’t believe how well it was done and how much information was in it.
“He said they were in awe and thought it was amazing.”
The documentary first aired on UNC-TV on Dec. 27, 2009, to an estimated 3.5 million viewers.
“Davies said it was the highest-viewed program ever on the UNC-TV network,” Blake Scott said. “We were thrilled.”
The Scotts said they could not have been able to make the films without the help of their sponsors, who are located in Washington, Beaufort, Hyde, Tyrrell and Dare counties.
“They’ve helped us so much, even in this tough economy,” Emily Scott said.
The Scotts started production on “Refuge — Roanoke River” in April, continuing that work until next spring to take in all four seasons on the refuge.
Producing, editing, writing and filming the documentaries themselves, the Scotts fund all of their films and documentaries with their money, as well as funding from sponsors.
STRS Productions is wrapping up production on the third film in the “Refuge” series, this one about Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Once again, weather is playing a major role on the content. Close-call hurricanes and nor’easters have brought hardship on sea turtle nests this season and many forms of wildlife have suffered from the erosion caused by those storms. Abundant sea birds and rare species are captured on film for the first time.
DVD copies of “Refuge — Pocosin Lakes” may be purchased at or by calling 252-946-4728. The DVD has an additional 15 minutes of footage. Visit for additional pictures and information of upcoming “Refuge” films on UNC-TV.