On April 11, 1991, during a routine oil-transfer procedure, crude oil carrier Haven exploded in the Mediterranean Sea and erupted into a three-day-long fire. The explosion broke the ship’s back, and it sank off the coast of Genoa, Italy – killing six crew members and flooding the area with up to 50,000 tonnes of crude oil.
Twenty-five years later, four-time world freediving champion Guillaume Néry battles extreme depths, poor visibility and dangerous currents to dive as deep as 50 metres to the Haven’s final resting place. “I saw the Haven like a sunken city,” he says. “Like a lost city of Atlantis.” At 335 metres in length, the Haven is the largest wreck in all of Europe, an artificial reef, and a treasure to those artists of underwater exploration, aesthetics and performance: the freedivers.
Sitting high on a rugged hilltop looking out over New Zealand’s Cook Strait, an unusual team of senior ‘citizen scientists’ keeps watch for migrating humpback whales. They’re spotting for the Cook Strait Whale Count – a study into the recovery of New Zealand’s humpback population since the end of New Zealand whaling in 1964. These volunteers are uniquely skilled in watching whales: Not only are they descendant of New Zealand’s 200-year history of whaling, they were all once whalers themselves.
Whale Chasers shares the voices of these dedicated characters who have traded harpoons for pencils and notepads, and is described by reviewers as “one of few films where the bloody history of whaling is reconciled with modern sensibilities and aesthetics”. Pirates, conspiracy, life-and-death on the high seas: Whale Chasers is not for the light of heart, but about the heart of whale conservation.
The vessel is the Infinity: a 120-foot nomadic sailboat, built by hand in the 1970s, with no reinforced hull to protect it from ice damage. The crew is a band of wandering gypsy miscreants; with no permits, no insurance and no budget. During the iciest year on record in the Southern Ocean, the Infinity and her 16-strong crew left New Zealand to travel 13,000 kilometres across the Pacific to Patagonia – via Antarctica.
Along the way, they battled a hurricane of ice in the Ross Sea, faced a barrage of compounding mechanical and flooding crises, undertook a mission with radical environmental group Sea Shepherd, tore every sail they had, and unwittingly travelled further south than any other sailing vessel that year. This is a story about sailing, the camaraderie of a shared struggle and the raw awe-inspiring power of the natural world.
The search for extraterrestrial life has always fascinated the human race. We look to the darkness above and imagine the alien creatures that share our universe. Stay With Us suggests that maybe we have been looking in the wrong place. In another vast, deep, dark space, alien creatures have lived alongside humans for millions of years – hidden out of our sight while we have our eyes to the skies. As filmmaker Dustin Adamson probes a foreign world where man is no longer the dominant force, prepare yourself for a close encounter of a magnificent kind.
When four British middle-aged working mums announced that they wanted to row the Atlantic Ocean, their families thought they had lost their minds: With an average age of 47 between them, they had two children each, and no ocean rowing experience.
Three years later they were lining up alongside some of the world’s strongest ocean adventurers at the start of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Considered one of the toughest ocean endurance challenges on the planet, the odds were stacked against the mums from the start. This is the story of four ordinary women who dared to dream of becoming world record breakers as the oldest women ever to row an ocean. Four Mums in a Boat is a journey of determination, possibility and personal discovery.
The Legacy is a mouthful of oxygen when so much of today’s environmental reality tells us we are drowning. A century ago, most marine ecosystems were healthy and exploding with life, yet in just 50 years, overfishing and pollution have destroyed marine life populations in many parts of the planet. Several previously healthy populations of species, like the Giant Pacific Manta Ray off the Gulf of California, have disappeared altogether.
The Legacy reminds us not to despair. The film takes us to a remote archipelago in Mexico where words like “abundance”, “thriving”, and “perfect and healthy populations” are still being used to describe a marine environment. Declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2016, the Archipelago of Revillagigedo is evidence that the ocean’s biodiversity, and our hope, is not yet lost.
The reality of growing up a surfer in Iceland is different from anywhere else in the world. It’s a harsh place. There are no surf shops, guidebooks or webcams. Icelandic surfers are seriously on their own – both in and out of the water. But being so far removed from the hustle and bustle of the known surf world hardens Iceland’s surfers to confront the biggest issue they must all face: The North Atlantic wind.
“This wind is like a drunkard 10 minutes before closing time,” says The Accord team. “You never know what the bastard’s up to. He can be in the throes of a calm alcohol stupor one minute, fly into a fit of rage the next, and then, in a moment of pure brilliance and drunken unpredictability, the North Atlantic wind can be the most magnificent man in the room”.
Heiðar Logi Elíasson – Iceland’s first and only professional surfer – has faced this foe his entire life, and although Iceland isn’t a ‘surfer’s paradise’, growing up on a tiny island in the middle of the North Atlantic has taught Heiðar a few tricks for dealing with adverse conditions. First amongst them: how to do that dangerous dance with the North Atlantic wind.