This Tuesday in Portland, the Island Institute will screen “A Climate of Change,” four short films it produced about fisheries and the road ahead for Maine fisheries as our seas warm and rise. We called the filmmaker, Scott Sell, to talk about the project, which led him to the Gulf Coast of Florida as well as Alaska. While we were talking, we found out about that time he fell in love on Frenchboro.

QUARTET: The movies address the impacts of a fisheries collapse in the formerly oyster-rich Apalachicola, Florida, and how the community is working to adapt; ocean acidification in Alaska, where the problem is even more advanced than in Maine; the state of the Maine lobster fishery and fears that today’s boom is tomorrow’s bust; and how aquaculture could compensate for future losses. All four will be shown at One Longfellow Square starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday and will be followed by a Q&A.

BY THE SEA: Sell and his Island Institute colleagues started shooting the project in the summer of 2013. “That came right on the heels of 2012,” the year of the major glut of lobsters and the resulting price crash. “People were freaking out.” After years of debate between fishermen and climatologists at the annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum about climate change, there was a shift. “You couldn’t get the two sides to see eye-to-eye say, 10 years ago.” But now they were united and ready to talk about the problem.

In making the first film, the Island Institute, a nonprofit that works to sustain Maine’s island communities, focused on scientists and a handful of lobstermen, who Sell said “had been around the block enough to be sensitive to and aware of the changes they were seeing.”

LOCATION, LOCATION: To give the story depth, it ultimately made sense to “take a group field trip in a way,” to Alaska, where the filmmakers interviewed researchers and fishermen coping with familiar issues like ocean acidification, which is affecting crab and other species. They had one main contact. “I was kind of shooting from the hip,” Sell said. “I had never been to Alaska.” But as so often happens in storytelling, no matter the medium, that one contact snowballed into many. “You get this amazing avalanche sometimes,” Sell said.

His days might start with uncertainty and then suddenly “you are crawling with the camera into the haul of this trawler filled with all this pollock that had just come in.” The pressure was on “because you are not going to come back to Kodiak like you would go back to Castine.”

NORTH AND SOUTH: When the Island Institute crew went to Apalachicola, they brought a fisherman from Islesboro with them. “He picked their brains about predation and diversification.”

Common ground wasn’t hard to find, after all, Apalachicola was as one-species reliant as Maine. “People were coming to them for oysters just the way people came to Maine for lobster.” From the oyster fishermen and local officials there, the film crew got a closeup look at how the region responded to crisis.

SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION: Right out of college, Scott Sell came to Portland to attend the Salt Institute’s writing program and was thrown into hunting for Maine stories.

He spent months with an island-dwelling, lobstering family, working on a 9,000-word story (that’s about 10 times as long as this one). Then, after a year of working at PBS in New York and realizing he was “underwhelmed” by city living, he decided to return to island life.

He applied for a fellowship with the Island Institute, hoping to be sent to teach on busier North Haven, but was offered Frenchboro instead. “They said, ‘How do you feel about being on an island where there are three ferries a week at the most and 55 people in the wintertime? Will you lose your mind?’ ” He took the plunge.

FORT FRENCHBORO: Sell taught art, music, drama, gym and creative writing at the school on Frenchboro, which had 13 students at that time. He coached baseball, and organized field trips and holiday concerts. “And I was hanging out with these awesome island kids. They would find me at the end of the day and invite me to come to the fort they had built.”

After about six months, Sell also picked up a gig as the sternman for a lobsterman.

“I got to wake up at 4:30 a.m. and go to this guy’s house, where he had an informal coffee shop in his kitchen, and eat peanut butter and toast and bad coffee.” Good way to get to know someone. Good context for his later filmmaking endeavors.

IN GOOD COMPANY: A surprise roommate also helped with island acceptance. The woman he had dated in college came to visit before a planned move to San Francisco. “She left, and I was a little more devastated than I was before she came.” Then she called and told him she was thinking of postponing California; could she come up for the holidays? She could and did and they lived in a drafty parsonage for an island winter. “There were no distractions, there was no money to spend on anything except groceries.” They took walks and she baked for the islanders. Scones and such. “We would deliver them to people we hadn’t met yet. Her being there encouraged me to be even more available.”

After that, the deal was sealed. They took turns going to graduate school (Columbia for online media for him), got married (on a bigger island, Martha’s Vineyard) and found their way back to Maine and a job for him at the Island Institute.

ISLAND HOPPING? When you work for the Island Institute, do you get to island hop constantly? Never enough. “I like to be on the move as much as possible. Editing keeps you stuck in the office, and what I love about this job – but kind of journalism in general – is the surprise of who you are going to meet and what you are going to learn.”

His last trip to Frenchboro was a reporting trip. His assignment from the institute’s annual journal was to write about hunting but it turned into more of an island logistics story involving a dead deer and an unexpected boat ride as the successful hunter looked for a tagging station (Frenchboro’s was closed). “It was like a Marx brothers movie.” It’s good to mix genres.

Scott Sell will be at the screening of “A Climate of Change” to answer questions Tuesday.