For World Ocean Day: Six short films


“One Ocean Film Tour” comes to the M.V. Film Center for one day, Thursday, June 8, which is also World Ocean Day. Each of the six short films that make up the tour describes a different element of the ocean, the people, and the marine life that are part of it.

The first, “Bottom Time,” is biographical in nature, and describes for viewers a surfer’s world in Bali and Indonesia. It describes surfer Jake Baxter’s first fascination with being on the water. At 18 he lost his brother and his interest in surfing. In 2020, he picked up his board again, and at 25, he believed, “I must stay true to what I love most.” The shots of surfers in the water are stunning and a spectacular tribute to the ocean.

“Echoes from the Blue Meadow” follows the underwater explorations of Itzel, the first female Mexican researcher, as part of the Gulf Listen project. This young woman aspires to become a marine biologist, and in the film she monitors the acoustics of cetaceans, or marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises. The remarkable beauty of fish and other marine life with their sounds reflects what she sees and hears.

“The Shark with a Thousand Names” also visits Indonesia, but this time the film’s focus is on the relationships between the fishermen and the whale sharks they coexist with. These marine mammals are the subject of Indonesian myths and fairytales. They are a sign of good luck, and are said to save people from drowning. They are also protected by law in Indonesia.

“School of Fish” introduces viewers to the community of fishermen in Bristol Bay, off Dillingham, Alaska, whose livelihood is based on salmon. The salmon fishery is critical to the local economy, and it brings in millions of dollars annually.

These fishermen have been threatened by Pebble Mining, which would pollute the waters the community depends on for fishing. Viewers see how these fishermen and their families have fought back by testifying before the federal environmental agency to bring a stop to this threat.

“Ocean Guardians” begins with a view of a giant, abandoned whaling ship sunk off the shores of Antarctica. It’s testimony to the 3 million whales slaughtered in the 20th century. Viewers will learn that this killing happened because of the rapid advance in hunting technology and illegal catches. Protests, however, have begun to address the threat of continued whale fishing.

One important supporter of this movement is Kristie Wrigglesworth, executive director of the Pacific Whale Foundation. Another supporter is Frank Kaufman, who promotes marine ecotourism to alleviate the killing of whales in the part of Hawaii celebrated as a humpback whale habitat. The film mentions “kulcana” as the word used by many Hawaiians for responsibility. The One Ocean connection is also mentioned, and can raise the collective intelligence on whales. What is important to learn is that a single person can make a difference.

The last of the six shorts, “The Whale Song,” is perhaps the most entrancing and beautiful one. In it, viewers learn from Dutch DJ Sam Feldt the many sounds made by whales, from whoops to the longest, loudest songs in nature. Using a hydrophone, Feldt first captured whale songs in 1964 in Bermuda. He describes them as melodic and emotional.

Only males sing, and it is a way to impress females. The whales sing upside down, and their songs change regularly, with the males all learning the new ones. Feldt has captured 765 songs.

Each of these films offers a new and insightful look at the ocean. It’s an experience not to be missed.

Information and tickets for “One Ocean Film Tour” are available at