Blue Ocean Film Festival Makes Waves In Monaco, As Cop21 Approaches
It doesn’t drive voter turnout, as much as sizzling button, simply gamed issues like illegal immigration and taxes do.
Nonetheless, inside environmentalist circles, marine safety is that stepchild. Although 48% of human-produced carbon dioxide ends up in the ocean, causing Ph levels to drop and deadly acidification to rise, most environmental activism centers on terrestrial degradation. You’ll be able to present marine safety as Chilean Sea Bass, however most politicians and activists nonetheless view it as Patagonian easter island mystery of the stone giants toothfish.
The simply-concluded Blue Ocean Festival and Conservation Summit goals to correct that imbalance. Blue offers a uncommon chance to see a range of long and quick movies exclusively focused on marine safety.
Furthermore, at Blue, one gets to speak with the participating marine photographers, scientists, entrepreneurs, enterprise capitalists and philanthropists (typically multi functional individual) working to put ocean preservation on the forefront of environmental protection, especially as the 2015 United Nations Local weather Change Convention (COP21) approaches subsequent month in Paris.
There’s logic in Blue’s method. Because the deep oceans are largely out of sight and out of mind for many of our species, a great manner to boost awareness of their exotic magnificence and imperiled state is through film. The challenge going through a festival of this kind is in making a program varied and compelling enough that it does not end up as one long episode of The Blue Planet, minus the BBC’s production values.
Launched in Monterey, California in 2009 by the St. Petersburg, Florida — by means of West Virginia — couple of Debbie and Charles Kinder, Blue is on its technique to getting the mix Stone Island Outlet right. This past week’s festival in Monaco (the 2017 festival may also play in the principality) highlighted stellar examples of the marine documentary form.
For instance, Florian Fischer’s and Michael Kugler’s 7-minute narrative quick Shark and Lion artfully showcases the menace posed by the invasive lionfish.
Documentary options like Angel Azul (which chronicles the work of eco-sculptor Jason DeCaires Taylor)
and doc shorts like Silke de Vos’ Coral Gardening (which follows Anuar Abdullah, founder of Ocean Quest Malaysia)
profile the frontline victims of world warming, runoff, and excessive human interplay: the fragile indicator creature referred to as coral.
Coral reefs are residence to 25% of the world’s marine fish species, and comprise almost the entire nation of Kiribati, whose President, Anote Tong, spoke movingly at Blue
about plans to uproot his individuals to Fiji, except $2 billion is raised to turn Kiribati (endangered by rising seas and coral destruction) into a Waterworld-like floating island.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, 27% of the world’s coral reefs have already been lost. If current developments persist, 60% of the world’s coral reefs shall be lost inside the next 30 years.
Just a few films at Blue may strike some as preachy and pedantic. Others may use extra editing. As a producer and director of three documentaries (Crotty’s Children, Master Debaters, Apryl Miller: Color and Soul), I’ve realized that the cash quote of Shakespeare’s Polonius – “brevity is the soul of wit” – is all too pertinent to the typically prolix and humorless documentary form.
However, as cartoonist Jim Toomey — creator of the ocean-themed comic strip Sherman’s Lagoon
and director of the Blue-nominated short Two Miles Deep — told me over steak frites throughout from the Monaco carnival (the place, true to my invasive species, I later charged into the funhouse, in full Brooks Brothers go well with, with a multinational gaggle of political science college students from close by Undergraduate College of Menton), “You’ll possible see better production values in anything proven on Animal Planet. That is as a result of the focus is leisure. The movies at Blue” — chosen as they are by an eight-individual jury of environmentalists, scientists, and filmmakers — “go deeper.”
True ‘dat, because the short doc, The edge, a few photographer who films sharks at evening, poetically makes clear.
However there’s one thing deeply personal that goes on as well. Watching wave after wave of sincere, straightforward depictions of intensely variegated ocean life begins to have an effect on how one views all species. I literally underwent a sea change of the center, as I saw how even the most repulsive or violent or odd-wanting organism had its place in the higher ocean scheme. One can’t assist but broaden one’s acceptance of radical variety in people after viewing such epic and interconnected range in nature.
This openhearted spirit was completely modeled by the Kinders and their nimble international team (which features a former undercover quality assurance consultant for Starwood Motels & Resorts). Moreover, they instinctively demonstrated the hallmarks of an excellent festival outlined in my two previous columns on the Santa Barbara and Palm Springs film festivals respectively.
First, Blue is now at the very least partially positioned in a locale, Monaco, which is fulsomely committed to responsible tourism and traditionally aligned with the festival’s ocean mandate. Beneath the wise, stalwart leadership of His Serene Excellency Prince Albert II (himself an avid explorer, who’s been to the north and south poles, and who courageously lead the cost to restrict the fishing and sale of the endangered Mediterranean bluefin tuna),
Monaco has been at the forefront of ocean protection for well over a hundred years. Prince Albert II took the ocean protection helm from his great-nice-grandfather and explorer, Prince Albert I, who founded Monaco’s breathtaking Baroque Revival Oceanographic Museum (the place Blue is held).
Secondly, Blue is aware of the necessity for extraordinary customer service, going to additional pains to ensure that visitors are graciously served at a number of points of contact. This is vital as a result of the prospect of visiting upscale, out-of-the-approach Monaco can appear daunting to many potential attendees.
I witnessed few missteps either on the festival or in getting there. My fairly priced Swiss Air flight from Los Angeles to Zurich and on to close by Good (and by way of Heli Air to Monaco), was simple and quick. In addition, the on-board amenities – a Swiss-themed comfort kit, exemplary headphones, wonderful delicacies (from a singular Swiss canton every three months), and a large seat (with constructed-in massager) that reclined right into a full bed — had been the very best I’ve had in any airplane class.
The only weakness — a Swiss Air steward assured me that is being remedied — was the lack of Web and live satellite tv for pc Television. However, I enjoyed the reprieve from being totally related.
Furthermore, in the extremely safe, ultra clear (you allegedly need a bachelor’s diploma to even work as a Monaco road cleaner) confines of the world’s second-smallest nation, one feels removed from wider world considerations. I name it the Monaco bubble.
That doesn’t mean one is denied the esoteric indulgences of residence. For example, The Lodge Metropole (Monaco’s only independently-owned “palace” property) affords a vegetarian, gluten-free eight-course “food and life” tasting menu, courtesy of culinary auteur Joel Robuchon. While I chose not to affix my fellow Russian and English plutocrats on the Metropole, my perfectly appropriate Novotel room got here with a full ocean view and sizzling day by day breakfast, at a value comparable to a mid-range Manhattan hotel.
Monaco’s walkable measurement makes getting from any lodge to Blue a veritable sea breeze. Though the constitutional monarchy has instituted a number of forms of inexperienced transport, I encourage attendees to walk to and from the festival in an effort to take within the insanely lovely grandeur that leads as much as and across the towering Oceanographic Museum. The highlights embody two gardens, a hidden beach accessible by a collection of elegant stone steps (putting Malibu’s Matador Beach steps to disgrace), and spectacular ocean views like few others on the Riviera. Oh, and for those not bothered by such issues, an aquarium that is taken into account one of the best on the earth.
I typically recommend that boutique festivals keep all venues inside walking distance. By centralizing programming within the Oceanographic Museum (whose former director was – from 1959-1988 – none apart from Jacque-Yves Cousteau), and by conserving the festival small and intimate, Blue makes it simple to fulfill the Who’s Who of Marine Safety.
Pioneers like Cristina Mittermeier (Sea Legacy), Dieter Paulmann (Okeanos),
the inimitable Carl Gustaf Lundin (IUCN), Sylvia Earle (Mission Blue), Anisa Kamadoli Costa (Tiffany & Co Foundation), Torsten Thiele (International Ocean Belief) and Louie Psihoyos (indomitable, if righteously vegan, director of the preeminent environmental film of our time Racing Extinction, which debuts on Discovery just as COP21 begins)
are making blue the new green in more methods than one.
These connections could be later deepened over fine amaretto (go ask Alice)
on the Hotel Hermitage’s lovely Crystal Bar or at sundry different posh redoubts in one of the world’s most visually spectacular festival backdrops.
Luxury and social good could be paired like the perfect Monegasque food and wine, if a festival has the precise perspective. Taking a cue from Monaco’s humble, selfless, and much-beloved Prince, and with sponsorship from the likes of Rolex and Tiffany (which not uses coral in its jewelry), Blue is on its strategy to getting that pairing right.
In the following few years, as Blue strives to attract extra of the city-state’s 328,000 annual tourists, in addition to its affluent locals (for whom the Grand Prix and Yacht Show stay the large attracts), and finds ways to host screenings and events in and round Monaco’s evocative ocean milieu, while ensuring that festival eating places serve sustainably raised seafood, it could easily turn into the main nature-based mostly movie festival on planet earth.
– James Marshall Crotty
In the event you wish to re-publish this story, or deploy Mr. Crotty as a speaker, author or moderator, please contact him at www.jamescrotty.com.