Whale film captures US audience
Back in Picton for two nights
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.