Most of Australia's population lives close to the coastline and the ocean has long occupied a special place in this country's identity. The Australian coastline is where three of the world's great oceans meet: the Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans. The beach is the place where people from all around the country mix and live, and the recorded history of people in their interaction with the coastline is peppered with disaster, tragedy, discovery and delight.
‘Blue’, directed by Karina Holden, arrives at a time when Australia is making critical decisions which will decide the environmental legacy we leave for our children (and grandchildren). This challenging feature documentary delves into the ongoing perils of our oceans’ ecology. Filmed over two years in Indonesia, the Philippines, Hawaii and Australia, it outlines in rather depressing detail the monumental negative impact that human activity is having on the world’s oceans, and the terrible consequences that await if it continues unchecked.
The stories of seven "ocean guardians" make up this documentary, including shark advocate and conservationist Valerie Taylor and plastic campaigner Tim Silverwood, who created Take 3, a clean beach initiative. Silverwood, an environmentalist and plastic campaigner, has made it his goal to remove three million pieces of plastic from the oceans in the next three years.
The campaign does not stop at plastics. There is the relentless struggle to create awareness about the diminishing numbers of sharks, illegal fish laundering and the erosion of coral reefs. Jennifer Lavers, a marine ecotoxicolgist spends her time saving wildlife at risk of plastic ingestion. Sea Ranger Phillip Mango works to preserve the Cape York Peninsula - with his team he works to save trapped turtles and dugongs from ghost nets.
‘Blue’ blends traditional documentary with beautifully-shot, breathtaking cinematography and subtle, atmospheric sounds.
To find many of these passionate activists and scientists, Holden drew on her years in film and television documentaries for National Geographic and Discovery Channel, as ABC’s commissioning editor for science and natural history, and now as Head of Factual at Northern Pictures.
Having just finished the Screen Australia-funded documentary ‘Life on the Reef’ for ABC TV, Holden heard about growing concern among philanthropic groups around the Great Barrier Reef, amid news of coral bleaching and Adani’s controversial $16bn coal mine.
Good Pitch Australia then approached Holden about the potential for a film on the topic. With Holden on board, the Australian philanthropic community got behind ‘Blue’ in droves, raising $1.1m in support (which largely went to the documentary’s impact campaign).
‘Blue’ blends traditional documentary with beautifully-shot, breathtaking cinematography and subtle, atmospheric sounds. Through a mix of scientific essay, investigative journalism and arresting imagery, Holden gives the audience an opportunity to see how they can participate to save our oceans. This is an insightful and sobering film that will leave you with plenty to ponder by its end.