Ocean Film Festival made its welcome annual stop at The Festival Theatre in Edinburgh tonight as part of its world tour, and as usual a mixture of amazing ocean related films and the warm and friendly atmosphere of everyone in the packed theatre made for a very pleasant evening out.
There is of course far more to “Ocean Film Festival” than just providing us all with a good evening’s entertainment through some films – there are serious messages here too, and through seven films of different length (ranging from as short as a few minutes to nearly 50 minutes) – Fishpeople, Haven, The Legacy, Ocean Rubbish, Sea Gypsies, Stay With Us, and Whale Chasers - we take a look at how people interact with the waters and marine life of this very delicate planetary eco-system.
There is a mixture of joy and utter despair to these wonderful films of amazing landscapes, people, oceans, marine life and photography for me as I watch the respect for the oceans and almost spiritual pleasure derived from making contact with it that many people who inter-act daily with the oceans for food, work or pleasure have, and try and balance that with the catastrophic effect that man as a species has had on the oceans and all life within it. To put it simply, these wonderful waters full of food for us all and marine life more strange than anything that we could imagine meeting in outer space has been irreversibly damaged by humans in a very short period of time by many factors, but the prime ones are over-fishing and pollution. One of the greatest risks now to the marine life of our planet is pollution from discarded plastics in all sizes - billions of discarded plastic bottles alone right down to the micro plastics marine life is often getting trapped in or ingesting with unknown consequences.
I am deliberately not going into any detail on the films here as everything you need to know is on the Ocean Film festival website at http://www.oceanfilmfestival.co.uk/films Instead, I think it better to concentrate on the big messages of these wonderful films. The Oceans and the sheer forces of nature ultimately provide us with a vast array of what we need to exist on this planet, but their sheer power dwarfs anything that we can imagine and makes us in the end totally insignificant. Our own ignorance of just how delicately balanced an almost intelligent eco system is though has seen us globally break that eco system down to the point that in many areas it now no longer works properly at all. We actually have no real understanding of how our “inner world” oceanic system truly works – we do not even know about (or have seen) some of the marine life in these waters, and if we do not swiftly change on a global scale how we interact with the oceans of this world, we will have destroyed so much before we ever begin to understand, and as a species that depends so much on these waters for survival, that ignorance and abuse will have catastrophic effects for humanity.
If you enjoy going to the Ocean Film Festival then put a note in your diaries for its sister film festival – Banff Mountain Film festival. Full details are at https://www.banff-uk.com/ and it returns to The Festival Theatre in Edinburgh on Saturday 13th January 2018.
Review by Tom King