Looking back on the past few days at BLUE, a few questions seemed to be always hovering in the air: How do we capture viewers interest with beautiful shots of the ocean and not deceive the audience into believing that this is the norm and all is well? Alternatively, how do we show the environmental decline of our blue world without also desensitizing and fatiguing audiences? What inspires people to not just be interested in but to actually take action on behalf of the ocean, stunning imagery of its beauty or the starker images of the many threats to its health? What indeed is more powerful, the beauty or the beast?
The answer may be a bit of both. The winning films of the BLUE Ocean Film Festival were announced at the Blue Carpet Awards Saturday night. Although “Under the Sea 3D” received the Special Jury Award, the top prize was not given to a sweeping epic but rather “Bag It,” an independent film that tells the story of one man’s journey to rid his life and as much of the rest of the world as he can of our addiction to plastic. The enthusiastic applause seemed to indicate the audience approved of the choice.
Before the film winners were announced, the Making Waves Award was presented to Celine, Fabien and Jean-Michel Cousteau and the Sylvia Earle award to fellow ocean advocate Carl Safina by the woman herself. Singer Paula Cole paid tribute to the late underwater photographer Wes Skiles with her song “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone.”
The mood of the evening was indeed both sober and celebratory. Later at a silent auction and birthday gathering for Sylvia Earle, we took a Google Ocean tour of her life’s milestones paired with their geographic locations of where they occurred and then watched her dance while five fans serenaded her with her own birthday ballad.
Earlier in the day, she had spoken to a packed house with a collage of imagery, both beautiful and arresting, playing behind her. She told those at BLUE that we should use every avenue available to us to inspire others, including powerful imagery. “We’re all here to give the ocean a voice.”
Thanks, Sylvia. We at SeaWeb couldn’t have said it better ourselves.