Un­der­wa­ter film fes­ti­val set to launch

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - ENTERTAINMENT -

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.

Big screen Ne­mos: two of the stars of the Un­der­wa­ter Film Fes­ti­val

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