The Fremantle Underwater Film Festival is the brain-child of local Fremantle residents, Adam and Tania.
Realising the great capacity of friends and fellow freediving spearfishers to capture epic ocean adventures and exciting moments under the sea, they set out to create an avenue with which this footage could be shared. Being avid sea nomads and having a passion for the aquatic realm extended the film festival theme to marine biodiversity conservation, with five naturally evolving film categories for the festival: Sustainable Seafood, Underwater World, Homo delphinus: Ode to Freediver Jacques Mayol, Maui Dolphins and Science and Technology
Unsustainable commercial fishing has kicked the butt of fish stocks around the world and unscrupulous long-liners have silenced many local reefs. In a bid to highlight some of the more sustainable methods of fishing in our modern age, the Sustainable Seafood film category was designed to entertain with footage of spearfishing, in particular, demonstrating how getting in touch with nature, understanding the basics of fish biology and fishing for the future can also involve catching your dinner.
Spearfishing is an inherently selective fishing method. Learning the art of carefully stalking and dispensing a fish at sea fulfils both a primal urge to hunt as well as hones ones’ instincts underwater. Spearing a legal and decidedly delicious fish species, when it flows before your crosshairs, is a mixture of local knowledge of regulations, marine species identification, personal ethics and pulling the trigger. The patient breath-holding hunter activates their sensory awareness in an environment alive with the improvised performance of ocean organisms, themselves unaware of the captivating and alien nature of their existence to an onlooking and largely land-based mammal – the human being.
The Underwater World film category is meant to represent the general and artistic expressions of all underwater advocates, not necessarily those that conform to the usual genera of underwater video themes. So far, short film entries in the competition within this category have ranged from invasive-lionfish hunting and underwater artistic impressions, to the Brazilian conservation efforts for the ‘mero’ and sinking naval ships to create artificial reefs for habitat. If you can dream it under the water, then your film fits into this short film category. Animation and other formats also welcomed!
The Homo delphinus film category was designed as a celebration of freediving as a sport while doffing a hat to one of its greatest leaders, legendary freediver Jacques Mayol. Having visited the fabled dive site of Jacques, Isola d’Elba or Elba Island in Italy, it is not hard to be inspired by the lustrous turquoise blue waters that provided the backdrop for some amazing feats of human endurance. Jacques had an affinity with the sea and especially echolocating lifeforms such as the dolphin. In his book that shares the same name as this film category, Jacques conferred his understanding of the relationship of man with dolphin while also sharing his thoughts on his freediving world. Jacques inspired the likes of Umberto Pellizzari to reach new depths and with his explorations of the underwater world and encounters with dolphins in the wild, he encouraged a whole generation of freedivers to consider their relationship with the sea. This film category hopes to encourage ocean film-makers to share their unique perspective and also their personal bond with the sea, explored through the medium of breath-hold diving.
The heart and soul of this not-for-profit film festival is the critically endangered Maui Dolphin, Cephalorhynchus hectori maui. New Zealand’s’ endemic sub-species of north island cetacean, the Maui Dolphin, has been dubbed the ‘Hobbit of the Sea’. These loveable little critters are barely 1.4m in length and have been subjected to the detrimental effects of such human practises as gill-netting and seismic testing, reducing their populations to a reported 55 adults in 2014. In 2015, we aim to raise awareness about the plight of this tiny dolphin and its struggle for a peaceful, coastal existence. Recognisable by its Mickey Mouse ear-shaped dorsal fin, the Maui Dolphin is unique in both its small size as well as its interesting morphology. Like many of us that love the ocean, fish in its waters and play in its waves, the Maui Dolphin is at home in the shallow coastal waters and is plagued by damaging user conflicts. Seeing your family dying, entangled and trapped in destructive fishing gear would be a tragedy but such is the plight of Maui in the western waters of northern New Zealand. By sharing the story of the Maui Dolphins’ as part of our festival content, it is hoped that with raising awareness about this little battler, we will help reduce or put an end to its rapidly encroaching extinction.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Such underwater technology as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and hand-held video gear like Go Pros are now stably ensconced in the modern day underwater adventurers’ vocabulary, if not their toolkit. Video footage serves to both enhance ‘street cred’ by demonstrating a nicely stoned fish on film as well as chronicle the lives of individuals and their affinity with the sea. The Science and Technology underwater film category was made to allow film-makers to explore the world of undersea research, new science and technological achievements of the 21st century. In our day and age, improvements and innovations to underwater surveys and operations, technical gadgetry and wizardry can be easily shared and workshopped online. Enter your film in this category if you have some interesting insights into spearfishing equipment, subsea technology, ROVs, new forms of sea propulsion, improvements in video capture or freediving fins. Anything new, exciting or thought-provoking is welcome to be shared.
WHY SHOOT AN UNDERWATER FILM?
- Show family and friends how you love to spend your time
- Explore the art form of underwater film making
- Learn a new skill such as how to edit footage, mount a GoPro on a pole or affix an underwater head camera to your self
- Share a story of the sea, information on a favourite species, images of a beloved offshore reef or details on your particular methods of underwater activity
- Demonstrate the use of a new piece of underwater gadgetry
- Show off your underwater wizard skills by making a rabbitfish swim out of an unoccupied commercial divers’ hard hat
For more info or to enter the competition http://www.fuff.com.au
To order a ticket visit Eventbrite online here.
Join the Facebook page to keep abreast of the screenings coming to your coastal patch here.
Peace and sea you there!