Whale film cap­tures US au­di­ence

Back in Pic­ton for two nights

Marlborough Midweek - - Front Page -

In Jan­uary this year au­di­ences from Marl­bor­ough flocked to see the New Zealand-made doc­u­men­tary Whale Chasers, by film­maker Tess Bros­nan and mu­si­cian Aaron Hay.

The pre­miere, held at the Pic­ton Lit­tle Theatre was a sell-out on both nights, and raised sig­nif­i­cant funds for the theatre’s roof up­grade. The film is mak­ing its way across the globe and en­cour­ag­ing vis­i­tors to ex­plore the re­gion in which it was made.

The film was screened in San Fran­cisco in the United States on March 11 at the An­nual San Fran­cisco In­ter­na­tional Ocean Film Fes­ti­val to a de­lighted au­di­ence of ocean-sci­en­tists, con­ser­va­tion­ist and film-en­thu­si­asts from around the world.

This week Tess and Aaron are back in Pic­ton for a spe­cial screen­ing to cel­e­brate the 2015 Cook Straight Whale Project kick­ing off.

will be screened at Pic­ton Lit­tle Theatre on Fri­day and Satur­day at 7pm, with a spe­cial talk by the film-mak­ers.

At the San Fran­cisco screen­ing

Suc­cess: Film-maker Tess Bros­nan film­ing for the doc­u­men­tary Tess was in the au­di­ence, but she wasn’t watch­ing the film.

‘‘I was watch­ing the faces of those in the au­di­ence. You only re­ally feel like you have got it right when people show the emo­tions they are sup­posed to – laugh­ter, shock, sad­ness, de­light, fond­ness. I had seen our Marl­bor­ough au­di­ence en­joy the film, and been to other New Zealand screen­ings, where people had all ‘got it’, but this was my first ex­pe­ri­ence in front of an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence.

‘‘I had no idea if they would get the jokes, our lit­tle Kiwi idio­syn­cra­sies, or even the strong re­gional di­alect! But they loved it,’’ she says.

There were au­di­ble gasps of shock at some of the lesser- know his­tory about why the hump­backs dis­ap­peared in the early 60s, and the au­di­ence en­joyed the his­tor­i­cal footage, Tess says.

‘‘Af­ter­wards, many were in dis­be­lief at what they had seen. People were thank­ing me, it was amaz­ing. Ev­ery­one wanted to know if they could come to Marl­bor­ough and see the whales.’’

The city was a good place to show the film as the res­i­dents have a great ocean-ap­pre­ci­a­tion, swim­ming in the bay well into their 80s and 90s. Plas­tic bot­tles are banned, Tess says, who found it to be very pro­gres­sive and mind­ful place.

‘‘So they loved the sim­plic­ity and hon­esty of the film, and the fact that it is pro­mot­ing cit­i­zen sci­ence.’’

The next stop for Whale Chasers is the Mokpo In­ter­na­tional Ocean Film Fes­ti­val in Korea in Au­gust, which the film mak­ers hope to at­tend.

They have also been ac­cepted into the Aus­tralia Ocean Film Fes­ti­val, and are wait­ing to hear if they have se­cured a spot in Blue Ocean Film Fes­ti­val at St Peters­burg in Florida and at Wild­screen in Bris­tol, UK.

Photo: FILE

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