Directed by Kim Beamish • Documentary • 2019 • 80 minutes
OYSTER captures the daily routines, chaos and drama in the lives of Dom and Pip Boyton, a lively and hard-working second generation oyster farming family on Merimbula Lake on the southeast coast of New South Wales, Australia.
The film watches as Dom and Pip juggle the demands of parenting two precocious young boys with the long hours, logistical decision-making and labor required to keep their crop of Sydney rock oysters healthy and thriving. The Boytons and the other members of their oyster farmer collective face a host of challenges, from climate change and the threat of environmental disaster to the fickleness of the buyers and luxury markets that the collective depends on.
Oysters have been called 'the canaries of the estuaries' due to their importance as bioindicators, and as we watch Dom and Pip combat threats to their vulnerable operation--such as the proliferation of the invasive Pacific oyster and bacterial contamination triggered by severe 'east coast low' storms and an influx of vacationers--OYSTER presents a unique and intimate look at a business whose fortunes are entwined with the health and stewardship of the environment.