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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, simply gamed issues like unlawful immigration and taxes do.

However, within environmentalist circles, marine protection is that stepchild. Although 48% of human-produced carbon dioxide ends up within the ocean, causing Ph levels to drop and deadly acidification to rise, most environmental activism centers on terrestrial degradation. You may present marine protection as Chilean Sea Bass, however most politicians and activists still view it stone island ice jacket gumtree as Patagonian toothfish.

The simply-concluded Blue Ocean Festival and Conservation Summit aims to right that imbalance. Blue affords a uncommon chance to see a range of long and short movies solely centered on marine protection.

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

There’s logic in Blue’s approach. Because the deep oceans are largely out of sight and out of thoughts for most of our species, a super approach to lift awareness of their exotic beauty and imperiled state is through film. The challenge dealing with a festival of this sort is in creating a program diversified and compelling sufficient that it doesn’t end up as one long episode of The Blue Planet, minus the BBC’s production values.

Launched in Monterey, California in 2009 by the St. Petersburg, Florida — by way of West Virginia — couple of Debbie and Charles Kinder, Blue is on its method to getting the mix right. This previous week’s festival in Monaco (the 2017 festival may even play in the principality) highlighted stellar examples of the marine documentary type.

For example, Florian Fischer’s and Michael Kugler’s 7-minute narrative quick Shark and Lion artfully showcases the menace 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 global warming, runoff, and extreme human interplay: the fragile indicator creature often called coral.

Coral reefs are residence to 25% of the world’s marine fish species, and comprise nearly the whole 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 turn Kiribati (endangered by rising seas and coral destruction) right into a Waterworld-like floating island.

Based on the World Wildlife Fund, 27% of the world’s coral reefs have already been lost. If present tendencies persist, 60% of the world’s coral reefs might be lost within the subsequent 30 years.

A number of movies at Blue may strike some as preachy and pedantic. Others may use extra enhancing. As a producer and director of three documentaries (Crotty’s Kids, Grasp Debaters, Apryl Miller: Coloration and Soul), I’ve learned that the money quote of Shakespeare’s Polonius – “brevity is the soul of wit” – is all too pertinent to the typically prolix and humorless documentary type.

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

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

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

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

First, Blue is now no less than partially positioned in a locale, Monaco, which is fulsomely committed to responsible tourism and historically aligned with the festival’s ocean mandate. Underneath the clever, 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 charge to restrict the fishing and sale of the endangered Mediterranean bluefin tuna),

Monaco has been on the forefront of ocean safety for nicely over a hundred years. Prince Albert II took the ocean protection helm from his great-nice-grandfather and explorer, Prince Albert I, who based Monaco’s breathtaking Baroque Revival Oceanographic Museum (where Blue is held).

Secondly, Blue is aware of the necessity for extraordinary customer support, going to extra pains to ensure that visitors are graciously served at a number of points of contact. That is essential because the prospect of visiting upscale, out-of-the-way Monaco can appear daunting to many prospective attendees.

I witnessed few missteps either at the festival or in getting there. My reasonably priced Swiss Air flight from Los Angeles to Zurich and on to nearby Nice (and through Heli Air to Monaco), was simple and quick. In addition, the on-board amenities – a Swiss-themed consolation equipment, exemplary headphones, tremendous cuisine (from a singular Swiss canton every three months), and a large seat (with built-in massager) that reclined right into a full mattress — had been the very 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 Internet and dwell satellite Tv. Nevertheless, I loved the reprieve from being fully linked.

Moreover, within the extremely secure, ultra clear (you allegedly want a bachelor’s degree to even work as a Monaco road cleaner) confines of the world’s second-smallest nation, one feels faraway from wider world issues. I name it the Monaco bubble.

That doesn’t mean one is denied the esoteric indulgences of dwelling. For example, The Hotel Metropole (Monaco’s only independently-owned “palace” property) gives a vegetarian, gluten-free eight-course “food and life” tasting menu, courtesy of culinary auteur Joel Robuchon. Whereas I selected not to hitch my fellow Russian and English plutocrats on the Metropole, my completely appropriate Novotel room got here with a full ocean view and scorching day by day breakfast, at a worth comparable to a mid-range Manhattan lodge.

Monaco’s walkable measurement makes getting from any resort to Blue a veritable sea breeze. Although the constitutional monarchy has instituted several forms of green transport, I encourage attendees to stroll to and from the festival so as to take in the insanely lovely grandeur that leads up to and across the towering Oceanographic Museum. The highlights include two gardens, a hidden seaside accessible by a series of elegant stone steps (placing Malibu’s Matador Seashore steps to disgrace), and spectacular ocean views like few others on the Riviera. Oh, and for those not bothered by such things, an aquarium that is considered probably the greatest on this planet.

I usually recommend that boutique festivals keep all venues within walking distance. By centralizing programming within the Oceanographic Museum (whose former director was – from 1959-1988 – none other than Jacque-Yves Cousteau), and by maintaining the festival small and intimate, Blue makes it easy to satisfy the Who’s Who of Marine Protection.

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 (International Ocean Trust) and Louie Psihoyos (indomitable, if righteously vegan, director of the preeminent environmental film of our time Racing Extinction, which debuts on Discovery simply as COP21 begins)

are making blue the new green in additional methods than one.
These connections may be later deepened over wonderful amaretto (go ask Alice)

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

Luxury and social good will be paired like the best Monegasque food and wine, if a festival has the suitable angle. Taking a cue from Monaco’s humble, selfless, and far-beloved Prince, and with sponsorship from the likes of Rolex and Tiffany (which now not uses coral in its jewellery), Blue is on its technique to getting that pairing proper.

In the next few years, as Blue strives to attract extra of town-state’s 328,000 annual tourists, as well as its prosperous locals (for whom the Grand Prix and Yacht Present stay the massive draws), and finds methods to host screenings and events in and around Monaco’s evocative ocean milieu, while making certain that festival eating places serve sustainably raised seafood, it might easily develop into the main nature-primarily based movie festival on planet earth.

– James Marshall Crotty
In case 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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