Underwater film festival set to launch
LOCAL underwater photographers will be honoured this weekend at the Cairns Underwater Film Festival.
Along with announcing the winners of the first Cairns Underwater Photography Competition, organisers will also screen six award-winning films from the 36th Marseilles International Film Festival and four short local movies.
The winners of the local photography competition will be announced on Saturday.
Christian Botella, organiser of the festival, said the first year of the photo competition had seen 250 entries from 35 competitors.
“I was quite impressed we got so many entries in our first year,” he said.
Local film-makers are also featured on the program with four short films, a combination of unseen footage and edited highlights of well-known reef videos.
“There’s some great footage of mating manta rays off Pixies Pinnacle, and a couple of courting potato cod.”
This year’s international films are from six different nations and represent some of the more unusual films on the Marseilles program.
“The feature movie is about the Moken, who are one of the world’s last sea tribes,” Mr Botella said. “I had a choice between a BBC-style documentary, like you see on TV all the time, or this Japanese film which won the public prize.
“The Moken are Burmese nomads who live on boats in very tight family groups and harvest food from the ocean.
“These guys are incredible free-divers. They don’t have fins or spear-guns, they just use their top lip to block their nostrils and take a harpoon down to 20m.”
Mr Botella said some local divers would find the movie confronting.
“While the Moken only take what they need, it can be quite disturbing to see them spear a moray eel, or eat a giant clam.”
The Cairns Underwater Film Festival will screen at the Cairns Civic Theatre at 7.30pm on Saturday, August 7 and Sunday, August 8. Tickets are $25/$20.
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