Filmmaker shares insights into message of documentary 'Shored Up'

Shored Up

The Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture kicks off its On Screen/In Person film series with the environmental documentary “Shored Up,” Sunday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m. in Taylor Little Theatre at Mercyhurst University. The film will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker Ben Kalina and experts on sustainability and coastal erosion. 

Beaches and coastline are a national treasure, a shared resource, a beacon of serenity and recreation in a world of constant change… and they’re disappearing in front of us. “Shored Up” asks tough questions about coastal communities and residents’ relationship to the land. What will a rising sea do to homes, businesses, and the survival of communities? Can we afford to pile enough sand on the shores to keep the ocean at bay? In Long Beach Island, New Jersey and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, surfers, politicians, scientists and residents are racing to answer these questions. Beach engineering has been the only approach so far, but is there something else out there to be explored? Development of the coastlines puts humanity in a tough predicament, and it’s time to start looking for solutions.

The film is one of six selections in the On Screen/In Person series that brings independent filmmakers to campus, followed by Q&A sessions that give the audience an opportunity to learn more about the passion and creativity behind the film making process. The On Screen/In Person Series is made possible by the support of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Tickets are $6 for adults; $5 for students and seniors; and $1 for Mercyhurst students with ID. For more information, call the box office at 814-824-3000 or visit

About the Panelists:

Ben Kalina, director and producer

Kalina’s films focus on the intersection of science, culture and the environment. He directs and produces original documentaries, narrative shorts and cross-media projects as well as client-driven video productions. Kalina has worked for years with Niijii Films on the documentaries "Two Square Miles" and "A Sea Change," two award-winning films that have been successfully deployed for environmental justice and education, and both of which have been nationally broadcast in the U.S. His most recent project is "Shored Up," which explores the Army Corps’ controversial and ongoing beach replenishment project along the New Jersey Shore. In addition to his documentary work, Kalina has won several international awards for his short narrative film "Diorama."

Jennifer O’Donnell, Ph.D., coastal engineer

O’Donnell earned her doctorate at the University of Cambridge, where she analyzed the mechanics of sediment transport during storms. Since beginning her coastal engineering career in the Shore Protection Section of the New England Division of the Army Corps of Engineers, she has worked on diverse projects like preparing FEMA flood maps and analyzing sediment transport and beach erosion in the field and the laboratory. She is one of the founders of Coastal Ocean Analytics, LLC, an environmental and engineering consulting firm. O’Donnell educates legislators and the public about coastal processes and the effects of climate change as a member of the Connecticut Task Force on Climate Change and Shoreline Preservation. She has authored numerous technical papers on a broad array of practical coastal and oceanographic concerns. 

Jacob Moore, environmental planner

Moore is an environmental planner with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Coastal Resource Management Program, and provides technical assistance to property owners along Lake Erie to mitigate coastal erosion effects. He has been with the department since 2010 and started his position as Coastal Resource Manager in May of 2013. Moore previously completed both his undergraduate degree in parks and resource management and a Master of Science in sustainable systems from Slippery Rock University.

Bookmark and Share

News Releases

Cummings opens fall season with faculty exhibit
Artists reception slated for Sept. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Mercyhurst welcomes new faculty
Erie, North East celebrate 14 and six new faculty, respectively.
Kids for Cash scandal goes to heart of ‘confronting injustice’
Mercyhurst offers film, speaker on scandal that shocked the nation.

National News

Forbes report highlights universities making gains in serving needs of students on autism spectrum.
Prince George Citizen-Steven Symes
Forensic anthropologist Steven Symes, Ph.D., testifies in trial of alleged serial killer.
Tribune Review-Ridge Archives
Gov. Tom Ridge, whose archives are housed at Mercyhurst, is quoted during a Pittsburgh fundraiser.