By Ilona Cabral
Touring over 35 locations across the UK and Ireland in September and October, the Ocean Film Festival World Tour has splashed back onto the shores of Cardiff! Showcasing some of the world’s best Ocean Films, “from above and below the surface” the audience at the St David’s Hall were treated to an evening filled with seven stunning and emotional ocean themed films.
Yet, while this festival highlighted daredevil and extreme-adventures, like partner Festival, “Banff Film Festival” this event also focused on the theme of ocean conservation. Through emotive and inspirational films, it highlighted how human activity is endangering our oceans and how this activity must be stopped!
The night began with the ‘light-hearted’, “Kiwi breeze”, a story of an unconventional next door neighbour with an incredible dream to build a 44ft Ocean-going yacht (in his London back garden) and voyage home to his native New Zealand in it (a 24,000km journey). A dream that, after 9 years of toiling and a couple of ocean mishaps, finally came true.
Up next was the bitesize, but nonetheless stunning, “One Breath”. This film introduced us to the incredible free-diving duo, Eusebio, from Spain, and Christina, from Sydney. It tells the story of their world-wide adventures and success in completing the first ever 100m tandem variable meter dive. Through gorgeous filmography they highlight the mesmerising world below.
Next up then was “The Big Wave Project”, an effortlessly cool surfer story about the skill (but also luck) needed to ride the World’s Biggest Wave. Working together, with this aim a tight-knit crew of mad-cap surfers battle fierce currents and perilous weather conditions. Yet, this film delves deeper than images alone, it highlights the sense of connectivity felt by the surfer community, both with each other and with the ocean.
After a few more beautiful showings, including “Scarlet’s Tale”, an inspirational story of how a seemingly devastating shark attack allowed South African, Achmat, to accomplish his dreams of becoming an Olympic medallist, it was time for a break. Heading over to the event sponsors, “Surfers against Sewage” and “The Marine Conversation Project” I learnt some more about how ocean pollution is devastating our environment – both locally and internationally. Please head over to their websites to see how you can help; this could be anything from taking part in a local beach clean or eating more sustainable fish!
After a goody-filled prize draw it was back to business and we were confronted with the heart-breaking, and my favourite, film “Blue”. Through stunning and provocative filmography, this award winning film highlights the harsh reality of how our carelessness towards the environment is endangering the life of animals both on land and in the sea. It forces us to understand that the most ‘minor’ pieces of plastic, such as discarded bottle tops, can kill animals if ingested. It makes us root for the inspirational individuals who are fighting back to defend habitats and species and makes us want to help as well.
Finally, in “Touched by The Ocean”, we were introduced to Latvian Karlis and Gints, an unforgettable duo with the passion to row across the South Atlantic Ocean, from Namibia to Brazil. Our protagonists are two individuals who have never done ocean kayaking before… what could possibly go wrong? Through trials of bum boils (yes they showed all the gory details), some broken ribs and endless stunning panoramic views this film is entertaining and emotional to the last second.
The films this year were incredible, every one showcasing the beauty of the world above and below us and the absolute need to protect it from human ruin. The filmography was stunning throughout and each film had a clear and resounding message. I cannot wait to attend it again next year!