Ocean City, Maryland | Film Short

Adventure, Fantasy

Julian Alvarez

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

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This campaign raised $28,673 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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Generations after a global environmental collapse, a young boy raised at sea embarks on a voyage to a mythical place once known as "land".

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
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Mission Statement

This film is a love letter to the swashbuckling adventure stories that inspired me as a kid, while painting the very sobering portrait of the deadly effects of climate change. Within this fantasy film we are highlighting real places in our world actively being wiped away by rising sea levels.

The Story

Ahoy! is a nautical, swashbuckling, knuckle cracking, kaleidoscopic, sand-filled-pocket, salty, sour, sometimes sweet, dirty barefeet, finger licking, bone picking, sun burnt, chipped tooth, top of your lungs, lump in your throat, freckles on your cheek, windswept, whirlwind fairy tale inspired by classic myths and humanity’s own uncertain future.

Logline — Generations after a global environmental collapse, a young boy raised on the sea discovers a map and begins a voyage to a mythical place once known as “land.” 

Story Summary / Synopsis – Our story is told through the eyes of a young boy called Ahoy who dreams of one day visiting a mythical place once known as “land”. On a planet consumed by the sea, a colony of survivors live out their days on a big, resilient old longshore fishing boat converted to meet their post-apocalyptic needs. They use solar power, eat from the sea and from their on-deck gardens, collect rainwater and distill it in the sun. They float slowly through the endless sea underneath an open sail. The crew is a warm hug, a bandaid on a scratched knee. This short film is the proof of concept and proposed opening sequence for our feature film in development. This short is narrated entirely by a song that sails between a sea shanty and a lullaby, made up from a rag tag collection of slightly off tuned instruments, the creaks, bangs, groans of the ship and the chorus of the crew. It narrates the origins of the ship, the folklore of Ahoy’s infant discovery, and the action of our onscreen adventure. On the eve of a massive storm, Ahoy seizes an opportunity and diverts the ship and its crew toward land for the first time in decades. After getting caught up in a terrifying swell, Ahoy awakens to see his plan worked, but the sight of land is a harrowing reminder of a lost world: a pathetic strip of a barrier island being swallowed by the sea. The film ends with Ahoy’s realization that the old world is not for him, and his world is on that boat. He is comforted by his family, he lets his cherished old map be taken by the wind, and he looks on toward the horizon and his future. 


From a narrative standpoint, the goal of Ahoy! approach is to pose an existential question within a whimsical and engaging tale. As a director, Julian has always been interested in using genre films to explore heavy and difficult subject matter in engaging ways.  It’s incredibly difficult to have conversations about environmental collapse. Ahoy! is a fairytale grounded in a harsh reality. We’re telling a story based in an imagined future, but shooting the present day effects of climate change. 

This film is a love letter to the swashbuckling pirate stories I loved watching as a kid, while also painting the very real portrait of the deadly effects of climate change. All wrapped up in a nautical fairytale and narrated in song.

Thank you for your curiosity,

Julian A.

The cinematography will merge a naturalistic and documentary motivated visual approach with stop-motion and miniature work to capture a unique collage for Ahoy’s world. Water will splash on the frame, the hot sun will flare the lens, the camera will always hang at our young protagonists height reacting and interacting with the traditions of this swashbuckling crew.

The initial production design of Ahoy's “Crows Nest” set was built entirely with salvaged and repurposed ship yard scraps that our art director sourced herself from the shore of Montauk. Our lead character’s wardrobe was up-cycled and distressed by hand. For principal photography we are committed to using similar practices for the dressing of the boat.

Environmental Statement: This film will be shot on the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Delaware, part of the Delmarva (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia)  Peninsula and will document the scenery of barrier islands that are environmentally endangered, actively losing land mass due to sea level rise, land subsidence, and coastal erosion. Tangier Island (VA) and Smith Island (MD) are perhaps the two most notable environmentally endangered islands, and our production will bring us right into their waters. Our setting makes a harrowing statement that our worst fears for the future are happening in our present day. While this film may feel like a post-apocalyptic fantasy at first glance, audiences will have to face the fact that this level of environmental destruction is happening now, in real life, on the coastlines of this country. This is why the setting on the Eastern Shore is so crucial to us.

The Tiki XIV is a working, charter fishing vessel operating out of the West Ocean City Harbor and Lewes, Delaware. The Tiki was built in 1968 in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. The Tiki is the sister longshore boat to the Andrea Gail, the ship lost during The Perfect Storm. This 123 ton, steel vessel would be our survival choice to face apocalyptic rising seas and the perfect setting for Ahoy and his crew. 

The original score serves as a major pillar in our storytelling as a narrator sings along with the weaving musical themes, combining together to tell the tale of Ahoy’s voyage to land. The film’s original score is currently being written and recorded by The Texas String Assembly.

The production practices of Ahoy! will align with our artistic mission. Our team is committed to running a Green Production, especially as a film set free of single use plastics. Recycling measures will be strictly implemented and our compostable food waste will be put to good use by the local's gardening operations. Beyond this, we are committed to community involvement on the Eastern Shore. We are currently partnered with The Art League of Ocean City to raise community engagement and enthusiasm. Our goal is to establish relationships with preservation-focused local organizations.


The goal for this Seed & Spark Campaign is $30,000 which is about one third of our short film's total budget. Below, you can see a breakdown of our total budget.

This campaign will cover the costs below:

  • Location, The Tiki - $11,000
  • Film Score & Lyrics: $4,500
  • Miniature Design & Build: $1,500
  • Wardrobe Purchases & Rentals: $1,500
  • Set Decoration: $6,500
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Crafty: $5,000


Our on-location Principal Photography is scheduled for May 27th - June 5th of 2024 on the eastern shore of Maryland. These dates include 2 travel days, 2 pre-build days, 3 shoot days and 1 breakdown day. We have locked down the dates and rates of the picture boat, “The Tiki”.


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The Tiki - Location Fee

Costs $11,000

A seabed swirls and bubbles before BOOM! A multi-tiered, ramshackle, patchwork deep sea fishing trawler bursts out from under the deep blue

Film Score and Lyrics

Costs $4,500

The short is narrated by a song sailing between a sea shanty and a lullaby, made up from off tuned instruments, ship creeks and the crew.

Miniature Design and Build

Costs $1,500

The film will merge a naturalistic and doc visual approach with stop-motion and miniature work to capture a unique collage for Ahoy’s world.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Wardrobe Purchases & Rentals

Costs $1,500

The wardrobe department costs will cover the sourcing of costumes, accessories, props, wigs and more.

Set Decoration

Costs $6,500

Our set decoration will help transform our fishing boat into a post apocalyptic survivor's colony.

Breakfast, Lunch & Crafty

Costs $5,000

This fee will cover meals and snacks to keep our cast and crew happy!

About This Team

Julian Alvarez (Writer, Director, DP) - Julian is a director and cinematographer based in NYC. After falling in love with visual storytelling while as an apprentice for National Geographic and LA Times photojournalists, Julian went on to graduate with a BFA from Tisch School of the Arts. While at NYU, he served as cinematographer for award winning and festival featured short films, Don’t Be a Baby, J-1, Everything is Wonderful, and Elliotland (which won craft awards for cinematography.) As well as directing his thesis “Techno Scrap” which earned technical achievement awards. Since then Julian has worked freelance shooting music videos, shorts, and documentaries. Recently he directed “Forgotten Founders”: a documentary showcasing the lost history of slavery on the east end of Long Island. This film won the Audience Award at the Hamptons Film Festival, and “Delicious” a short following the egos of a father-son chef duo.

Emmi Shockley (Producer) - Emmi Shockley is an Ocean City, Maryland born, Brooklyn-based filmmaker with experience in narrative film, commercials, and music videos. She is a producer on the feature film Throuple (current TFC project, in late-stage post production), which is an official selection of the 2023 NYU Production Lab and was one of the thirty projects invited to the Tribeca 2023 Creators Market. She has worked regularly on the production teams of Industrial Color and Hemlock Productions for commercial clients such as Yahoo, Starbucks, TUMI, The Today Show, Kiehls, and Skinceuticals. Most notably, she was recently the lead producer on Maybelline's 2023 Pride Campaign "Drag It Out," starring top New York City Drag Queens. She has directed and produced music videos for artists including Dakota Jones and Beth Million. Her narrative directing work includes the award-winning short films J-1, Don't Be a Baby, and Squall which recently screened at the 2023 Austin Film Festival and the 2023 Catalina Film Festival. She holds her BFA in Film and Television Production from NYU Tisch. 

Rebecca Mendoza Mejia (Producer) - Rebecca Mendoza Mejia is a Mexican-American Film Producer. Born and raised in the Mexican-US border, she understands and believes in the power of representation and the importance of giving voices to underrepresented communities. Her producing work ranges from short narrative films, to music videos and commercials. A renaissance woman, Swiss army knife, and jack of all trades, Rebecca spent her early career managing musicians such as Trinidad James, Wild Child and Nané. During her time in the music industry, she gained traction as a music video director. Most notably the hit, Blue Velvet by Nané which was a finalist in the NPR 2020 Tiny Desk Contest. She also worked alongside Kim Henkel, writer and director of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) to keep the franchise alive and relevant.

Jess Gabor (Producer) - Born in LA, studied at Loyola Marymount University and the Moscow Art Theater in Russia and now living in NY, Jess Gabor has found her voice in all forms of media. As a filmmaker, Gabor has written, directed & produced shorts such as Delicious, Her Story and Barbie, with Barbie nominated for Best Short at the Cannes Film Festival. As an actor, Gabor has had success in TV and film on Showtime’s Shameless, Starz's Three Women, FX’s Breckman Rodeo, ABC's Grey's Anatomy and much more. Gabor has been a part of Sundance twice for Blumhouses’s Run Sweetheart Run & Hot Seat and has had theatrical releases of Legendary’s The Machine, Gringa, and All Souls. Recently, she made her off-broadway debut as a lead in the Steven Soderberg produced play The Fears at The Signature Theater in New York, New York.

Current Team