Vineyard organizations team up on Jan. 19 to screen documentary on our ‘Plastic Ocean’


The compelling film, “Lion” opens at the Film Center on Friday, Jan. 13. And the extraordinary, not-to-be-missed documentary “A Plastic Ocean” plays at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center in a special screening on Thursday, Jan. 19.


Garth Davis’s fiction film “Lion” is based on a true story about an Indian “lost boy” who as an adult finds his mother and sister. The title may seem odd until viewers find out its significance at the film’s end. Five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) waits for his doting older brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) at a railroad station not far from his home, and accidentally boards a decommissioned train, which takes him nearly 1,000 miles away to Calcutta. Lost and confused, he ends up in a state-run center for children, and is adopted by a loving Australian couple, Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John (David Wenham). After a privileged childhood, Saroo enters adulthood, now played by Dev Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” He meets and falls in love with Lucy (Rooney Mara). Despite this happy outcome to his life, he longs to reconnect with his birth family, and tracks them down with remarkable determination. Facebook and a wall full of maps supplied by Google Earth lead him to his birth home. “Lion” tells a remarkable and heartwarming story, empowered by its reliance on events that actually happened.

‘A Plastic Ocean’

Shown in collaboration with the Vineyard Conservation Society and the company Norton Point, “A Plastic Ocean” describes what is happening to the world’s oceans because of the proliferation of plastics. Director Craig Leeson opens the film with his interest in the blue whale, which led him to concerns about plastic debris, almost all of which ends up in the ocean. He points out that in the past 10 years, more plastic was made than in the entire past century, and much of that plastic is intended for one-time use.

One example he uses is how whales swallow plastic bottles, shoes, biscuit tubes, sheets, and disposable lighters. Much of the plastic that ends up in the ocean contains cancer-causing dioxins. Filled with data and expert interviews, “A Plastic Ocean” provides compelling research. For instance, there is an accumulation of plastic in the North Pacific twice the size of Texas. But perhaps the most heartrending images in “A Plastic Ocean” show the guts of marine birds filled with so many pieces of plastic that they starved to death.

Director Leeson wraps up his disturbing and important film with a few examples of how to address the plastics crisis. Aircraft carriers have developed machinery to break down plastics into nontoxic substances. Some fast food restaurants use paper instead of plastic wrapping, and consumers can use metal foil instead of plastic, the worse offender. Finally, businesses can use recycled plastic to make new items.

Thursday’s screening of “A Plastic Ocean” will include a special panel discussion with representatives from the Conservation Society and Norton Point, which uses recycled ocean plastic for its sunglasses.

For tickets and more information, visit