Ocean Film Festival is taking an epic road trip around the country this year with 40 stops along the way, screening over two hours of salty short films by Australian and international independent filmmakers.
Festival Director Jemima Robinson fills us in on what audiences can expect to see at the event.There’s a long history of ocean films, both in the surf and marine conservation genres, and you cater to both. There’s something for everyone in this year’s programme, isn’t there?
I think no matter what you’re doing in the ocean, the thing that connects everybody is how they make you feel. So if you’re surfing or you’re diving or free diving, or if you’re just going for a swim or you’re just taking a photo of it, everybody walks away with that same feeling of being refreshed or being revived or just being connected: to the earth, to the planet, to each other. I think that’s what’s common. Of course there’s some films that you watch where you go 'oh my God, I don’t understand that at all, I don’t understand how they can do that at all' and that’s just your eye candy. At the end of it, you can go 'okay, I can get the idea of what inspired that person to spend 78 days at sea by themselves' (as in 'Manry At Sea – In The Wake Of A Dream').
You spoke there about one film, 'Manry At Sea'. What are some of your other highlights of this year?
We try every year to make it a varied programme, both above and below the surface. What is really hard usually is finding a really great below the ocean film because they are either super sciencey or you’re competing with things like 'The Blue Planet', which is really hard to do as an independent film maker. So this year, we’re super excited to include in the programme ‘A Southern Right Whale’. It’s filmed in Patagonia and it follows a Southern Right Whale and it is just stunning. It’s an amazing ode to wildlife and natural beauty and just has an amazing score to it as well and I think seeing that in a cinema with a full audience and amazing sound, you just can’t get that on TV.
There is this other short film called ‘Surfer Dan’, who’s this guy who’s super psyched on surfing but he lives near Lake Michigan, which is a massive lake but it’s not the ocean and it’s frozen and the surf looks terrible and there’s ice on it but you can’t help but love it and him as well.
There’s a bit of local content. We’ve got a film made by an Aussie film maker called ‘EMOCEAN’, where he travels around the world and takes us to different parts of the globe and shows us the waves there, but also the local people there, so there’s a really great segment there in SA with Jeff Schumacher and his son, who is on the World Surf League, big wave surfer. You’re not just raising awareness of the ocean, you’re also raising funds with this year’s festival. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Yeah absolutely. [The festival’s] great for entertainment, but it’s really important for us that if people are inspired to protect the ocean or be involved or want to do more that we have those connection points at the screening. At all of the screenings we partner with conservation organisations.
Ocean Film Festival plays around the country. Click here for a list of dates and venues.