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Villas Sculptor Inspires Documentary 5.17.2006

By Christine Cote

NEW YORK, N.Y. – From the Franks Beach 4 Theater on Beach Avenue in Cape May to the Village East Cinemas here – that’s the path the first documentary directed and produced by Craig Rinkerman, 24, has taken since it was filmed last year.
Rinkerman is a 1999 graduate of Lower Cape May Regional High School and has a degree in film and video production from Drexel University.
The 35-minute work, entitled “Gerald Lynch – Sculptor,” was chosen for last fall’s New Jersey Film Festival and shown in Cape May on Nov. 19.
On May 9, it was screened before about 30 viewers at a 10:10 p.m. showing as part of the seven-day New York International Independent Film & Video Festival (NYIIFVF).
Rinkerman’s mother, Laurie Johnson of North Cape May, introduced him to the work of the late Gerald Lynch, who lived in the Villas section of Lower Township until his death in September 2000.
She sat with her husband, Leif Johnson, Rinkerman, and his friend, Krystina Koltunicki, at the CafŽ DeVille here on 13th Street and Third Avenue before the film was shown a block away at the Second Avenue theater.
His mother said she called Rinkerman in Philadelphia as soon as she left Lynch’s studio, after seeing his work for the first time, and told her son, “This story should be told.”
Rinkerman said he completed the work, which is a compilation of interviews filmed by him in various locations and footage of Lynch speaking to students about stone sculpture, demonstrating carving techniques and playing the banjo, in about two months.
It was the first documentary he completed after getting his degree. He worked on it without any help, except for some assistance from Koltunicki.
His goal was to have it done to submit for the film festival in Cape May and he not only made the deadline but also got picked for it.
He now lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan as an assistant editor for Partisan Productions. The company is located on West 27th Street and produces documentaries for the History and Discovery channels and for National Geographic.
After Cape May,  he said he checked the Internet for other venues to “spread Jerry’s message farther than south Jersey.”
When he knew he would be moving to New York, he submitted his documentary to NYIIFVF in December. When he heard in February that it was accepted, he said he was “real excited, just the fact of spreading Jerry’s legacy further.” 
His job in New York has a Cape May connection as well. While in school, he worked for Henry’s on the Beach in Cape May and, Rinkerman’s mother said, Ed Henry, the restaurant’s owner told her, “Tell Craig to look up my son, if he ever moves to New York City.”
His son, Greg Henry, is a producer and director for Partisan. Rinkerman said he did contact him and Greg Henry “helped me decide where I wanted to go.”
Then, “there was an opening,” and Greg Henry “invited me to be on his team,” said Rinkerman.
He is currently working on a 13-episode documentary on the American Revolution that will air on the History Channel next month, he said. Each episode is an hour long and he is doing postproduction work with about 70 hours of footage.
After his documentary was shown last week, Rinkerman had to go to work. He works a graveyard shift, usually from about 8 p.m. until 3 or 4 a.m.
His job involves “splicing in narration and retrieving footage at the direction of the producer and director.” He works at night because they review the film during the day and make decisions then that govern his tasks.
When he had an opportunity to speak for a few moments before his film made its New York debut, Rinkerman did not talk about himself. He told the small audience in the 100- plus-seats theater that he wanted to bring Lynch’s work to as many people as he could.
In the schedule for the seven day festival, the program note for his documentary reads: “Gerald Lynch was a sculptor from Villas, New Jersey who devoted his entire life to his love of nature and protection of the earth. Influenced by Van Gogh and Michelangelo, his sculptures warn us about the dangerous direction the earth is heading towards in hope that we will start taking better care of it.”
Asked what he wanted do in the future, Rinkerman said he is hoping to make documentaries for the rest of his life.
Contact Cote at (609) 886-8600 Ext 31 or: ccote@cmcherald.com

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