CAPTURING THE OCEAN’S POWER
THE OCEAN FILM FESTIVAL WORLD TOUR HAS ARRIVED IN NOOSA, BRINGING FOOTAGE OF EVERYTHING FROM UNDERWATER ADVENTURES TO FROZEN SEAS
The big blue. It’s the mysterious stretch of ocean consuming 70 per cent of the planet that both excites and terrifies us. From underwater caves to the unknown depths of the ocean’s bottom, there is so much for us yet to discover (about 95 per cent of it to be precise).
Here on the Sunshine Coast, it’s safe to say many residents have a strong connection to the ocean. We surf it, kayak it, swim in it, kiteboard it, scuba dive it or spend early mornings and late afternoons simply admiring it. And one event happening on the Sunshine Coast encompasses all of that love.
The Ocean Film Festival World Tour – Australia commences its Noosa leg tonight. In its fifth year, the event showcases a compilation of short films into a two-hour feature which explores many perspectives of the ocean.
From scuba divers painting underwater to surfers riding frozen seas and explorers chasing wild crocs in the middle of the ocean – it’s a wild ride.
The Ocean Film Festival director Jemima Robison said she first started the event to connect audiences with these independent and sometimes low-budget filmmakers who had magnificent stories to tell.
“I work in film festivals and I see a lot of short films that never ever actually make it to TV or the big screen just because they are small, independent films and they don’t really fit in with the time frame of big productions.
“I was starting to see a whole host of really beautiful ocean films come through. I’m a really passionate ocean lover myself and I know many Australians are as well.”
The festival travels to 39 destinations around Australia, including six shows in Queensland, and highlights the many different ways in which mankind co-exists with the ocean, and how much we need it to survive.
“The way that people interact with the ocean is really different depending on where you are. I grew up in Townsville so everyone there is snorkelling on the reef and diving. Whereas on the Sunshine Coast, there’s amazing surf, so people are out surfing. But one common theme that brings everyone together, is how the ocean makes them feel,” Jemima said.
Producers and filmmakers from all over the world submit their entries for consideration and, let’s just say, the competition is tough.
“This year we’ve had over 300 entrants and we are showing eight,” Jemima said.
“All of the ones we’ve chosen, for one reason or another, you’re totally drawn into them. For the entire length of the film, you are right there with them amongst the action.”
The film festival partners with conservation organisations such as Sea Sheperd and Project Aware Australia, both of which are touring with the event, campaigning and selling merchandise to raise funds.
A dollar from each ticket sale for the
Noosa show will be donated to Project
Aware, an organisation famous for its international campaign Dive Against Debris. The project has so far seen more than 1,280,689 pieces of debris removed from the ocean by 191,804 divers across 180 countries.
“For us, every year it’s really important, if we’re going to show these films and get people to love and protect the ocean, that as soon as they walk out there’s a way for them to do it,” Jemima said.
“We always invite one or two conservation agencies to the screening, so, when people exit the film they can go straight up to their desk and go ‘okay what can I do’. It can be something as simple as signing a petition, volunteering their time, picking up rubbish or donating money.
“We really want to have that tangible link between the audience and local conservation organisations.”
Jemima said entries were already open for the 2020 world tour. She strongly encourages Sunshine Coast filmmakers to get involved and submit their films for consideration, so they can showcase the region to the rest of the world.
“A lot of these films take you to really remote areas around Australia that a lot of people haven’t been to or haven’t seen. It’s places that aren’t really on your radar but now they are. It’s really about expanding people’s horizons,” Jemima said.
While tonight’s show is sold out, the
Ocean Film Festival has announced an encore tour on May 17, when the feature film will re-play at The J in Noosa.
ON SCREEN: The Ocean Film Festival World Tour is coming to the Sunshine Coast this weekend.