Charlie Ess, in collaboration with his wife Cheryl, won the grand prize in AOOS’s 2014 Short Film Contest with their film Siblings at Sea. The film follows Charlie and his brother during a particularly meaningful fishing season in Cook Inlet.
“The sockeye salmon season has come down to crunch time for the Ess brothers in Cook Inlet. When it looks like the fate of the entire gill net venture hangs on a peak day in July, the crew resorts to superstition and a special breakfast cereal to change up the game.”
In hopes of longer winters and more adventure, Charlie Ess moved to Alaska in 1978. He found work in commercial fisheries after meeting his wife, Cheryl, who had bought a salmon fishing operation near False Pass. The couple fished there for 15 summers; then Ess embarked upon freelance magazine and newspaper writing and photography. He has been the North Pacific bureau chief with National Fisherman magazine and a frequent contributor to Alaska Magazine and many other publications since 1997. In yet another venture with writing and the arts, Ess, 59, recently began making videos. At the same time, Cheryl has ramped up with new equipment for her photography. The couple recently published a photo essay in National Fisherman and have been working on other projects together. In the coming years, they plan to continue shooting, writing and producing films and stories about Alaska.
See the full list of contest films.