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Blue Ocean Movie Festival Makes Waves In Monaco, As Cop21 Approaches

It does not drive voter turnout, as a lot as hot button, easily gamed issues like illegal immigration and taxes do.

However, inside environmentalist circles, marine safety is that stepchild. Though forty eight% of human-produced carbon dioxide ends up within the ocean, causing Ph ranges to drop and deadly acidification to rise, most environmental activism centers on terrestrial degradation. You possibly can present marine protection as Chilean Sea Bass, however most politicians and activists still view it as Patagonian toothfish.

The simply-concluded Blue Ocean Festival and Conservation Summit aims to appropriate that imbalance. Blue affords a uncommon likelihood to see a variety of long and short movies exclusively focused on marine protection.

Furthermore, at Blue, one gets to talk with the engaging marine photographers, scientists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and philanthropists (typically multi functional particular person) working to place ocean preservation at the forefront of environmental safety, particularly as the 2015 United Nations Local weather Change Convention (COP21) approaches next month in Paris.

There may be logic in Blue’s strategy. As a result of the deep oceans are largely out of sight and out of thoughts for most of our species, a perfect way to boost awareness of their exotic beauty and imperiled state is through film. The problem going through a festival of this kind is in creating a program various and compelling sufficient that it doesn’t end up as one long episode of The Blue Planet, minus the BBC’s manufacturing 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 method to getting the combination right. This previous week’s festival in Monaco (the 2017 festival may even play within the principality) highlighted stellar examples of the marine documentary type.

For example, Florian Fischer’s and Michael Kugler’s 7-minute narrative brief Shark and Lion artfully showcases the threat 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, founding father of Ocean Quest Malaysia)

profile the frontline victims of world warming, runoff, and extreme human interaction: the fragile indicator creature often known as coral.

Coral reefs are residence to 25% of the world’s marine fish species, and comprise virtually your entire nation of Kiribati, whose President, Anote Tong, spoke movingly at Blue

about plans to uproot his individuals to Fiji, until $2 billion is raised to show Kiribati (endangered by rising seas and coral destruction) right into a Waterworld-like floating island.

In accordance with stone island supreme cap the World Wildlife Fund, 27% of the world’s coral reefs have already been lost. If present traits persist, 60% of the world’s coral reefs will probably be lost within 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: Colour and Soul), I’ve discovered that the money quote of Shakespeare’s Polonius – “brevity is the soul of wit” – is all too pertinent to the usually prolix and humorless documentary type.

Nonetheless, as cartoonist Jim Toomey — creator of the ocean-themed comic strip Sherman’s Lagoon
and director of the Blue-nominated brief Two Miles Deep — advised me over steak frites throughout from the Monaco carnival (where, true to my invasive species, I later charged into the funhouse, in full Brooks Brothers swimsuit, with a multinational gaggle of political science college students from nearby Undergraduate School of Menton), “You’ll probably see higher production values in something proven on Animal Planet. That’s as a result of the main target is leisure. The movies at Blue” — chosen as they’re by an eight-particular person jury of environmentalists, scientists, and filmmakers — “go deeper.”

True ‘dat, as the quick doc, The edge, a couple of photographer who movies sharks at night time, poetically makes clear.

But there’s something deeply personal that goes on as properly. Watching wave after wave of honest, simple depictions of intensely variegated ocean life starts to have an effect on how one views all species. I literally underwent a sea change of the heart, as I saw how even essentially the most repulsive or violent or odd-trying organism had its place in the greater ocean scheme. One can’t help however broaden one’s acceptance of radical variety in humans after viewing such epic and interconnected range in nature.

This openhearted spirit was completely modeled by the Kinders and their nimble worldwide workforce (which features a former undercover high quality assurance guide for Starwood Inns & Resorts). Furthermore, they instinctively demonstrated the hallmarks of an awesome festival outlined in my two earlier columns on the Santa Barbara and Palm Springs movie festivals respectively.

First, Blue is now at the very least partially positioned in a locale, Monaco, which is fulsomely committed to responsible tourism and historically aligned with the festival’s ocean mandate. Beneath the sensible, stalwart management 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 limit the fishing and sale of the endangered Mediterranean bluefin tuna),

Monaco has been on the forefront of ocean protection for properly over one hundred years. Prince Albert II took the ocean safety helm from his nice-great-grandfather and explorer, Prince Albert I, who based 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 further pains to make sure that company are graciously served at multiple factors of contact. That is vital as a result of the prospect of visiting upscale, out-of-the-manner Monaco can seem daunting to many potential attendees.

I witnessed few missteps both on the festival or in getting there. My moderately priced Swiss Air flight from Los Angeles to Zurich and on to close by Good (and by way of Heli Air to Monaco), was easy and fast. As well as, the on-board amenities – a Swiss-themed comfort package, exemplary headphones, high quality delicacies (from a unique Swiss canton each three months), and a large seat (with constructed-in massager) that reclined into a full bed — have been the 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 stay satellite Television. However, I enjoyed the reprieve from being totally related.

Furthermore, in the extraordinarily secure, extremely clean (you allegedly need a bachelor’s degree to even work as a Monaco street cleaner) confines of the world’s second-smallest nation, one feels removed from wider world concerns. I call it the Monaco bubble.

That does not imply one is denied the esoteric indulgences of dwelling. For instance, The Resort Metropole (Monaco’s only independently-owned “palace” property) presents a vegetarian, gluten-free eight-course “meals and life” tasting menu, courtesy of culinary auteur Joel Robuchon. Whereas I selected not to join my fellow Russian and English plutocrats at the Metropole, my perfectly suitable Novotel room came with a full ocean view and hot each day breakfast, at a value comparable to a mid-vary Manhattan resort.

Monaco’s walkable size makes getting from any resort to Blue a veritable sea breeze. Although the constitutional monarchy has instituted several types of green transport, I encourage attendees to stroll to and from the festival in an effort to take within the insanely stunning grandeur that leads as much as and across the towering Oceanographic Museum. The highlights embrace two gardens, a hidden seashore accessible by a collection of elegant stone steps (putting Malibu’s Matador Seaside 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 considered among the best in the world.

I often advocate that boutique festivals keep all venues inside walking distance. By centralizing programming in the Oceanographic Museum (whose former director was – from 1959-1988 – none apart from Jacque-Yves Cousteau), and by preserving the festival small and intimate, Blue makes it straightforward 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 (Global Ocean Trust) and Louie Psihoyos (indomitable, if righteously vegan, director of the preeminent environmental movie of our time Racing Extinction, which debuts on Discovery just as COP21 begins)

are making blue the brand new green in more ways than one.
These connections could be later deepened over tremendous amaretto (go ask Alice)

at the Hotel Hermitage’s lovely Crystal Bar or at sundry other posh redoubts in one of the world’s most visually spectacular festival backdrops.

Luxurious and social good can be paired like one of the best Monegasque food and wine, if a festival has the appropriate attitude. Taking a cue from Monaco’s humble, selfless, and much-beloved Prince, and with sponsorship from the likes of Rolex and Tiffany (which no longer makes use of coral in its jewelry), Blue is on its way to getting that pairing right.

In the subsequent few years, as Blue strives to draw extra of the city-state’s 328,000 annual tourists, in addition to its prosperous locals (for whom the Grand Prix and Yacht Show stay the big attracts), and finds ways to host screenings and occasions in and round Monaco’s evocative ocean milieu, whereas ensuring that festival eating places serve sustainably raised seafood, it might simply grow to be the leading nature-based film festival on planet earth.

– James Marshall Crotty
In the event you want to re-publish this story, or deploy Mr. Crotty as a speaker, author or moderator, please contact him at

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