It’s hard to imagine the endless possibilities and unique connection humans have with the ocean. Whether its chasing un-surfed winter waves off the coast of Russia, free diving with dolphins or even hydro foiling across the Bass Strait, the Ocean Film Festival World Tour created a platform to share adventures both above and below the ocean.
From 14 to 16 March, 2023, the National Film and Sound Archive put on one of their best events of the year. The festival provided an outlet for both amateur and professional film makers to spread awareness on ocean conservation. It highlighted the importance of ocean preservation sponsors and charities, to the public.
The festival had three sessions in Canberra, each session ran for approximately three hours. There was food and beverages on offer from the NFSA staff and the event organisers. The event was planned wonderfully to break up the session, by interacting with the crowd during the intermission.
Despite walking away without a prize (for the third year in a row), the competition during the intermission was a lot of fun. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and anticipation amongst members of the audience lifting the energy. Names were drawn at random, with a selection of prizes ranging from ocean conservation souvenirs, to a whale encounter gift card. The prizes were given away thanks to the festival sponsors.
The tours aim to raise awareness about ocean conservation, signifying the importance of promoters and charities for ocean conservation. These charities are posted on the website which is a great way for the audience and specatators to get involved, and play a part in saving our oceans.
Some charities promoted during the event included Take 3 for the sea, PADI AWARE Foundation, Humpbacks and High-rises, Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Reef Check Australia, and BirdLife Australia.
This year is the tenth Ocean Film Festival World Tour. There were seven short films shown, and five of those were Australian. Having one of the seven natural wonders of the world on our front doorstep, it’s no surprise that there were so many amazing local films.
My favourite short film had to be ‘Corners of the Earth: Kamchatka’ from the Australian filmmakers Spencer Frost and Guy Williment, which involved a young group of guys, full of energy, passion and courage.
The guys made their way to Kamchatka, Russia in an attempt to surf some of the worlds most un-ridden waves. I’m all for a surf in the rejuvenating waters of the Australian East Coast, but these guys have gone next level to uncover a story of life’s beautiful simplicity.
Not only are they travelling to a place that gets to minus twenty degrees Celsius during winter, but to a country that was on the brink of war. Their epic adventure is an inspiration and displays true passion and enjoyment in what they do.
The Australian leg of the Ocean Film Festival World Tour has been running from the end of February and will finish at the end of June, as it makes its way around Australia. Now don’t worry, if you feel as though you have missed your chance this year, their website is full of information and even blog posts that you can wrap your optic nerves around. You can even submit your own film if you’re up for the challenge!
All in all, it was a phenomenal showing of ocean exploration and conservation where I felt immersed in the underwater journey. I am very keen for next years event and who knows, I might even walk away with my very own subscription to the Australian Geographic.
Photos by Ollie Speldewinde