The South Fork of Long Island, two hours from Manhattan, is a highly valued thin strip of land known by outsiders as "the Hamptons."

Surrounded by water, this exceptionally fertile land with a majestic coastline has long inspired fierce polarization between farmers and developers; the preservationists and the capitalists.

Everyone wants land - either for a farm field or for the view of one; as much land as they can possibly get, and as close to the ocean as possible.

But prior to the race to claim, buy, and keep land, the East End of Long Island was the Great Mother Earth to the indigenous Shinnecock Indians who are still present on a small reservation in Southampton today.

The several dramatic shifts over the years from a Native American world, to a Farmer's world, to the one influenced by second-home-owning-Urbanites has felt like whiplash to those who planted their feet firmly in their certain way of life.

Some, however, manage to straddle two worlds at once. The Shinnecock who lives with his "head in the sky, feet on the ground." The farmer turned real estate broker.

The Value Project is a character driven documentary film that follows individuals who fiercely value the land for opposing reasons. Likewise, we follow the people who are working to span the world of their past and their current reality.


Director/Producer/CinematographerMelissa Hammel
Consulting Producer • Nicole Betancourt is an Emmy award-winning producer and director with twenty years experience creating and distributing documentaries and short videos. Her work has shown on domestic and international television, won over a dozen awards, and screened for thousands of community events. Her films have been praised by media around the world, including The New York Times, Variety, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Nicole was granted a Food and Community Fellowship and a Sustainability Leaders Network Fellowship and has served on many juries and panels for film institutions and competitions

Additional Camera • Don Lenzer is a documentary director/cinematographer whose camera or director of photography credits can be found on five Academy Award winning feature documentaries including Woodstock (1971), He Makes Me Feel Like Dancing (1983), Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1995) and Into The Arms Of Strangers (2000).

Editor • Melissa Hacker has edited two Academy Award nominated documentary films, Sister Rose's Passion and The Collector of Bedford Street, as well as documentary programs for MTV's True Life series, National Geographic Television, ABC's Turning Point, and the PBS/BBC American Cinema series. Melissa was an editor on The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition, a documentary for Britain's Channel 4 television that was nominated for two BAFTA Awards, and edited Beyond Conviction, a feature documentary on restorative justice that won the Audience Award at the Woodstock Film Festival, aired on MSNBC and was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Melissa is also a filmmaker (the Academy Award short-listed My Knees Were Jumping; Remembering the Kindertransports) and a wandering film professor, most recently in Myanmar, at Yangon Film School. 

Historical Advisor • Julie Greene is the curator and archivist for the Bridgehampton Museum and the local history librarian at the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton.

Still PhotographerPhilippe Cheng