The Ocean covers more than 70% of our world’s surface, and yet we know so little about it.
This year’s Ocean Film Festival brings together a handful of the best emotive short films, inviting us to better understand, respect and explore the hidden depths of our beautiful yet mysterious ocean.
I was lucky enough to catch the tour as it went through Brighton…
Here’s my quick summary of the films:
One Breath: A Life Without Gravity
Freediving couple Christina and Eusebio compare their relationship on land vs underwater, as they work together as trainer and student to break the 100m tandem freedive record.
Freedivers use breathing and relaxation techniques to dive for great depths without the need for oxygen tanks. Inspiring, but I must admit the final dive got me feeling a bit claustrophobic waiting for them to take that first breath on the way up!
Filmmaker: Sebastian Solberg (length 6mins)
The Big Wave Project
Shot over 5 years, this short film follows the lives of the very bravest big wave surfers, chasing the highest waves in the world for a few moments of adrenaline fuelled action.
I loved that many of these men weren’t sponsored, so it was the love of riding the waves and not the money which fuelled their crazy trips.
Filmmaker: Tim Bonython (length 20mins)
Achmat Hassiem from South Africa had a dream of representing his country in the Olympics, but during training for his job as a life guard, he was attacked by a shark which saw him lose his leg!
The plot twist is this seemingly devastating accident wasn’t the breaking, but in fact the making of his career, as he went on to win bronze in the Paralympics! and even got to meet and make peace with his attacker Scarlet.
Filmmakers: Faine Loubser, Trygve Heide, Khiraad Mathura & Achmat Hassiem (length 15mins)
Touched by the Ocean
The comedy of the evening, 2 Latvian friends Gints and karlis have a (not so well thought out) plan to row all the way to Brazil in time for the Olympics. Do you know what happens when you don’t keep your seat dry then try and row for days on end? Watch this to find out! Both hilarious and shocking all at the same time – be prepared to hide behind your hands.
Film directors: Laura Rozkalne-Ozola & Sandijs Semjonovs (length 30mins)
For me this was the most inspiring film of the evening. Steve from New Zealand, married an English girl and the pair settled down in Forest Hill to start a family. But Steve had bigger plans, and spent 9 years building a 44ft yacht in his back garden.
The perfect example of never giving up on your dreams, this short film is made up of home footage showing the progress, as their son grows up watching his dad in the garden.
Finally, the vessel is lifted over the house by a crane and taken to the river Thames to start the journey all the way back to New Zealand! It’s a tense few moments as the crane goes over the neighbours’ homes… just imagine if after 9 years the whole thing had collapsed!
It takes Steve 18 months (from what I remember) to sail back to his home country, where the family relocate.
Filmmaker: Ruari Muir (length 11mins)
Blue – With so much focus on plastic waste and protecting our oceans in the media lately it can easily wash over our heads, but this film was a real eye opener to the dangers of plastic (beyond the plastic vs metal straw debate).
The scene which struck me the most was when scientist Dr Jennifer Lavers takes the viewers away from the sea and up on to the hillsides, where we see the effects that plastic is having on our sea birds.
Sticking a tube in to each baby bird’s throat, she starts pumping water in, and soon a whole array of multicoloured plastic shards gush out in to a bowl. This isn’t just the odd piece – this is piles and piles of plastic from bottle tops, old printers, flip flops etc etc. Sometimes things need to be seen to be believed! And this is not something which can be ignored.
Filmmaker: Karina Holden (length 33mins)
FACT = BY 2050 THERE WILL BE MORE PLASTIC IN OUR OCEANS THAN FISH
Comment below ideas on how we can cut down on plastic every day! Recycling is a great idea, but perhaps the obvious solution would be instead to cut our plastic usage to a minimum to begin with.
Click here for more information on the Blue film and project.
The Ocean film festival was an eye opener, and I’d really recommend you try and catch it! & check out Youtube for more clips of the incredible short films mentioned.