(PG) Maddison Stewart, Philip Mango, Dr Jennifer Lavers, Tim Silverwood
Living in Australia, surrounded by the ocean often means the beach is never too far away. Yet after we sunbathe on the sands and dive into the surf, do we really stop and consider what is happening to the ocean? More importantly, do we ask what we are doing to it?
A documentary shifting our focus to the sea couldn’t have come at a better time. Blue captures just how much we are damaging our oceans and the effect it has on not just the animals but humans too. The film shows how the ocean is a life source integral to our world, yet we treat it with disregard not thinking beyond the catch or the dump. This is timely as in this political climate Australia is faced with the decision on whether to become a world leader of marine conservation or continue to standby as the damage becomes irreversible.
Director Karina Holden takes the audience through waves, the first of awe at the sheer beauty of the ocean, then the shame and disgust of how we continue to abuse this habitat and finally a wave of hope. The film firmly says, yes we are the problem but we are also the solution.
Blue follows advocates and environmentalists who highlight a multitude of issues in the fight for ocean preservation. Shark expert, Valerie Taylor and Maddison Stewart (Shark Girl) showcase the large scale shark finning and the impact of commercial fishing. Discarded nets act as nooses for sea turtles and global demand, over-fishing and waste has led to declining fish numbers. This activity is not only threatening the ocean species but also poor fisherman’s livelihoods in places such as the Philippines. In these instances there are also increased risks of human trafficking and slave labour.
Closer to home coral bleaching has all but plagued one of the natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef. This comes, just as the proposed Adani Carmichael coalmine was granted a 60-year unlimited water licence off the coast of Rockhampton, Queensland. The industrialization of our coastlines will continue to be contested and as ramifications on the environment become ever-present.
Conservationist Jake Parker introduces the next deadliest predator in the ocean, plastic. It is cheap, durable, mass produced and as Jake shows will be part of our eco-systems demise. Biologist Dr Jennifer Laver takes us to the shores of Lord Howe Island where 90% of the sea birds have stomachs that are filled with plastics. Here birds mistake plastic as food and feed it to their chicks. It is heartbreaking moment when the stomach of a seabird is gently touched only to hear the crunch of plastic lodged in its stomach.
All through the film there is a certain reverence for the deep blue. With awareness comes action and Blue doesn’t let you leave the cinema without hope. The film shares simple ways we can all become an #OceanGuardian. And in the final scenes the audience is reminded that the ocean connects us all and as stewards of the land we have a responsibility to protect this life-giving resource (Genesis 1:26). Blue is a confronting film that’s hard to watch at times but it is a needed education that can wash away complacency we may have when it comes to thinking about and protecting our ocean.
Blue premiered at the Sydney Film Festival and will be screened in Australian cinemas from July 27 2017.
For more information about the film and ocean preservation, click here.
There are already trials for mass ocean clean-up with latest technology. The Ocean Cleanup has announced it will start trials at the end of this year for a fully operational launch in 2018. Learn more here.