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Island filmmaker will release a second documentary in March

By Staff | Nov 12, 2014

Filmmaker David E. Carter shooting in the home of artist Charlie Brown. CRAIG GARRETT

David E. Carter wants us to know the real Charlie Brown.

Not that one, the artist whose fishprint work on Sanibel has captured the attention of collectors. His work sells like hotcakes at the Tower Gallery cooperative, fetching big dollars from U.S. buyers for originals.

Carter, an award-winning Sanibel filmmaker with long resume in the advertising industry, is at work on “7 Sanibel Artists,” a documentary not unlike others he has produced, including “Growing Up on Sanibel” and a baseball documentary that played in a National Baseball Hall of Fame film festival.

He also founded the Telly Awards that recognize the best in the television/marketing industry.

Along with Brown, who is a physician and produces ink work in the Gyotaku style using heavy ink and dried fish, Carter is filming six others for his documentary that will debut at the BIG ARTS complex in March. He is in the process of filming and editing the others and wouldn’t divulge names until the finished film is ready. The March 5 premier mirrors another of Carter’s films of islanders, which included a small boy flying airplanes. “Growing Up in Sanibel” opened earlier this year. Among others, the film featured a small boy who flies airplanes with little help from his instructor. The BIG ARTS auditorium was packed at the premier.

An avid fisherman turning his passion into highly collectable artwork, Brown has been filmed by Carter on shoots at his home in Punta Rassa. He mostly shows viewers his methods for fishprints — Carter in headphones monitoring his cameras behind the glare of lighting — but also shares how his interests in fishing evolved into slathering ink on a dried fish and pressing it against sheets of rice paper, a technique that Japanese fisherman have used to document their catch. Brown paints the eyes, the fins and other parts to reflect his style, in singles and schools.

“This has been a lot of fun,” said Brown, “and I’m honored to be working with David.”

If Carter were entirely honest in his documentary work, he’d turn one of those cameras on himself. A Kentucky native whose dialect is quietly tangible, he has amassed plaudits and awards in advertising, publishing, filmmaking, production, televisionwork, including Emmy awards, a film he shot of a baseball park restoration in of Ashland, Kentucky. He has also written and filmed comedy sketches used by television great Johnny Carson.

Living here, a friendship with a Realtor led to sponsorship of his documentarywork, including “7 Sanibel Artists.” Proceeds from the March opening will benefit FISH of Sanibel.

“David is such a good fit” into the company’s philosophy of community service, said Mary Ellen Pfeifer, whose real estate firm is funding Carter’s filmwork. “We are so pleased to be part of it.”

It’s hard to imagine so much work crammed into one life. The pace, however, caused hardships, so Carter sold his businesses, moved full-time to Sanibel with his dog, driving a vintage Ford coupe and keeping fit on bicycles. He is since remarried to the woman, he said, of his dreams.

“I’m happy,” he said.

Details about David E. Carter’s career are at creativitycenter.org. Information about “7 Sanibel Artists” is at sanibelstories.com.