The 12th festival, like those before it, screened over 40 films, each with a direct connection to the ocean. And, as was the case with prior festivals, a good number of the films are truly meritorious but lack the distribution they deserve (at least in this writer’s opinion!)…a business opportunity?
In any event, below, in alphabetical order, I’ve outlined a subset of the 12th Festival’s 41 films that I found particularly appealing. The format is film name, filmmaker, length in minutes, country of origin, my comment:
Into the Mind of Greg Long, Patrick Trefz, 5, US. Nicely filmed, well-edited, interesting script. A not so subtle branding/pitch piece on the mind’s owner. Sponsored by Cliffbar.
La Nuit Des Geants, Rene Heuzey & Daniel Jouannet, 6, Fr. Wonderful art piece which leans lightly on deceased filmmaker, Jean Panleve. Featuring whale sharks, they’re shown to be beautiful moving sculptures. Lighting, music, filmography combine for an outstanding short.
Learning to Float, Brendan Calder, 20, US. Heartwarming story of how a teenager from South LA hooked up with a senior surfer and developed a life-long
relationship. The teenager learns to surf, improves his lot in life remarkably, and inspires creation of a non-profit to repeat it with others.
Lost Gear, Ken Fisher, 8, US. There are stories right in one’s own backyard – this film is a lively report on how fishermen in Eureka are working hard to retrieve lost crabbing gear.
Realm of the Oceans, Marc Jampolsky, 52, Can. One of the best, most informative science-based films in the ocean film genre. Innovative graphics along with smart talking heads convey how everything is connected and more. Don’t miss this one!
Six Months at Sea in the Merchant Marine, Martin Machado, 22, US. A fairly typical civilian goes to sea with his camera and intelligence and creates a very watchable first film that conveys life in the merchant marine.
Sweet Sea Breeze, Thomas Hessmann, 20, Gr. For this festival, a rare screening of a fiction film. A salty, crusty and elderly mariner is matched up with a young caretaker who starts out feisty but crosses over.
Tales of the Sand, Elodie Turpin, 20. Spain. Excellent script, filmography, and music all contribute to this stimulating film on the bottom of the near sea.
The Big Pick, Byrony Stokes, 6, UK. Creative treatment of a volunteer team’s day at the beach picking up and inventorying the plastic they find. Visuals allow it to persuade without preaching.
The Last Ocean, Peter Young, 50, New Zealand. Eye opening, moderately blistering info-editorial on the Ross Sea and the Patagonia toothfish aka Chilean seabass. In the spotlight are the complicated politics along with the business practices of the once-respected fisheries judge, Marine Stewardship Council.
The Odd Couple, Omar Badr, 5, UK. In the spirit of Jean Panleve, Omar Badr reports on the codependency of the Goby fish and Pistol shrimp. In this first effort, he did it all: precise filming & editing, a lively script, and wonderfully droll narration. A favorite.
Thule Tuvalu, Matthias Von Gunten, 96, Swiss. From Hollywood’s periodical, Variety: “A handsomely lensed, fascinating portrait of two communities on opposite sides of the planet undergoing irrevocable changes thanks to global warming.” The filmmaker lets the natives show and tell how, just as Bob Dylan sang, “…the times they are a-changin'”.
Tierra de Patagone, Julian & Joaquin Azulay, 76, Argentina. Genre: Guys travel, surf, and film it. It’s a 6 month trip by the Gauchos del Mar brothers across Patagonia. Linear story line made interesting by protagonists’ spirit, folks and new friends met along the way, patagonic culture, unique animals and the final leg to Staten Island in search of untouched waves…
Many other films in the Festival are also of merit, and their omission from the above list isn’t to be interpreted as a slight or criticism. The Festival program may be downloaded here.