Original Netflix documentary “My Octopus Teacher” recently caught the world’s attention, putting the ocean and its magnificent creatures, and indeed South African filmmaking, in the spotlight.

To the pride of South Africans worldwide, it won Best Documentary Feature at the 93rd Academy Awards.

World Ocean Day was on June 8th, with last week being referred to as World Ocean Week.

United Nation World Ocean Day 2021, theme: ‘The Ocean: Life and livelihoods’.

Ocean pollution and degradation and the effects these have on the planet and all its inhabitants, are at the forefront of conservation. Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, had the pleasure of joining the “My Octopus Teacher” crew in snorkelling and free diving in the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, in support of conservation.

Following this free dive promotion of conservation, South Africa should continue with the conservation momentum created by the documentary, now hailed as a national treasure.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde made the following statement

‘To mark World Oceans Week, I joined the Oscar Winning “My Octopus Teacher” crew in snorkeling and free diving in the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area.

During the excursion, the crew taught me about their innovative Sea Change Project, which inspired the award-winning documentary, and aims to promote human-nature connection and ocean protection.

I had the opportunity to commend the crew on their successes, putting Cape Town on the centre stage among the international film community. I also thanked them for their contribution to conservation by driving awareness and compassion for our waters.

I am proud to lead a Provincial Government which takes nature conservation seriously. Through CapeNature, we work extremely hard to conserve our precious and rich biodiversity, and through our partner GreenCape, we are working to support businesses and investors in the green economy to remove barriers to grow a more resilient and sustainable society.

The Netflix Original documentary film, directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed, documents a year spent by the filmmaker, Craig Foster, in getting to know and understand a wild common octopus in a kelp forest. It won the award for Best Documentary Feature at the 93rd Academy Awards hosted earlier this year.

The Sea Change Trust was founded in 2012. Its team is working to showcase the beauty and value of the Great African Sea forest. Since their establishment, they have made numerous discoveries which have informed:

  • The BBC’s Blue Planet II TV series;
  • An outdoor photography exhibition seen by an approximately1 million people;
  • The book ‘Sea Change’ which will be released globally as ‘Underwater Wild’ in October 2021; and
  • The ‘My Octopus Teacher’ documentary.

Speaking to the efforts of the Sea Change Project, Producer Sophie Foulkes said, “We are a team of media and science professionals dedicated to connecting people to the wild through incredible stories backed by scientific knowledge.”

“We are encouraging human beings to foster a meaningful relationship with the wild, and we support all efforts to regenerate and rewild our oceans. Our work includes films, books, exhibitions, marine biology research through living science, and impact campaigns.”

To find out more about the Sea Change Project, you can visit: https://seachangeproject.com/

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