I have been to this festival twice while I was living in Northern Ireland, where they came to Newtownabbey as part of their UK tour - however, the tour this year was in September and I already moved out of the country. I must say I was a bit upset about missing it... although after a quick search online, finding out that there definitely wasn't a Dutch version of it, I found the Belgian equivalent...and... I live right on the border!!!
Quickly I booked a ticket for their Antwerp show, with the intention of making a little weekend out of it... and here is where the story starts!
So what is this 'film festival'?
The festival is a tour of some of the films from the 'Ocean film festival Australia', which shows in March.
According to their 'about' website:
'At the Ocean Film Festival World Tour our vision is to inspire you to explore, respect, enjoy, and protect our oceans. Film is at the heart of the Ocean Film Festival World Tour and we aim to share the best films from around the globe with our audiences'.
How does it work?
An abstract from the site:
'Our vision is to inspire more people to explore, respect, enjoy, and protect our oceans. We are looking for a broad selection of films to fill a 2+ hour program that will tour Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, Italy, China the UK and more in 2018. We are searching for one long film (45mins to 60mins) and a number of short films (40 minutes and shorter) to make up our program.'
You can submit your own film
(... maybe for next year as the deadline for this year is approaching very soon)
At the Ocean Film Festival World Tour we are actively searching for films covering topics including ocean exploration, ocean related adventures, marine creatures, ocean related sports, ocean racing, coastal cultures, sailing, diving, rowing, free diving, surfing, oceanic environment, and ocean lovers.
The 2018 Ocean Film Festival tour will kick off in Australia in March 2018. The deadline for submissions is November 2017.'
Okay, so what did I watch and what did I enjoy most?
Firstly I have to say that I think that while most films seemed to be the same between the UK and Belgian tour, some are different. For example, I am a bit upset that the film 'Fishpeople' by Patagonia was not there! And I cannot seem to find it on the European ITunes (not yet anyway...) :(
This was replaced by '4 mums on a boat' , which I have already seen as part of the Banff film festival (a close relative...). Anyway, despite having already seen it, was not bad to watch again as it is a very interesting, motivating film where four 'mums' win the record for being the older team completing the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge , the toughest rowing event. Inspiring, showing you can do anything if you put your mind to it...
My favourites, however, in order were:
'Sea Gypsies' : as a sailing-loving girl, this film about sailing from New Zealand through to Patagonia via Antarctica was great! Not just adventure-filled but also about community of people that can form on board a vessel, and importance of being human and getting through some tough and scary times. Some funny parts, and they even attempt to help Sea Shepard! Recommend it 100%!
'Ocean rubbish' : in this film, David Day, an artist from Queensland picks up rubbish they found washed up on the shore and makes colourful yet surprisingly life-like models of all sorts of marine life, turning worthless junk into objects of beauty, and raising awareness of the ever-growing problem of plastic in our oceans. 3 Minutes of pure cool art made out of plastic - i'd be happy to have some of his models as art in my house :D
Haven : of course, a free-diving video could not miss Guillame Néry. Great shots of the largest wreck in the mediterranean down at 40-50 meters, all filmed by free divers.. pretty cool if you ask me! I wish I could free-dive to those depths, but I am content with my 8-10 m
Other films shown included 'the Legacy', with which I have some issues. A film about conservation of the oceans, which is great, and as a marine biologist I agree we should push for conservation. But, why only the conservation of the giant charismatic megafauna? Manta ray, sharks, turtle, dolphins, whales. Yes they have to be protected, but there is more to the ocean than them, and we should start pushing for conservation of the whole ecosystem...
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