the ocean between us
A UWE STUDENT FILM BY INKA CRESSWELL
THE FILM: 'My 25 is an authored short film switching between memories and reality to tell an intimate story of how our oceans have changed from the perspective of multiple generations exploring the state of our oceans and ultimately their fate. This film follows my own personal relationship with the ocean diving into the threats that face our oceans today and showing how much has changed in just my lifetime. From traditional fishing practices to state of the art wet labs and coral restoration work we will demonstrate how there is still time to change the fate of our oceans and show the importance of learning from different cultures and generations in the fight to conserve our oceans. It is a story of resilience, a story of hope but ultimately a call to action for us to decide what legacy we want to leave behind for our children.
By the age of 6 I had already decided I was going to be a Marine Biologist but I never imagined that by the time I graduated I would be fighting to save the last of a species and documenting the end of an era, they say we are the first generation to understand what we are doing to our planet but is it too late, have we already reached the point of no return?
Why Now? Our oceans are changing at an unprecedented rate but while pockets of resistance still exist in our marine protected areas there is still time for change. These small pockets of resistance allow us to take a step back in time, to step back to the days when sharks were still the ruling apex predators in our oceans and humans were just visitors. Our oceans are powerful and resilient places but they need our protection, they need us to find a way to live in harmony if they are ever to return to the vibrant thriving sea scapes they once were. This film will highlight the power of marine protected areas but most importantly show a community that are looking to the future and bringing their coastline back from the brink of extinction.
I believe this film is a story that our generation needs to hear. It is intended to be a visually emotive story drawing people into the beauty of our oceans and showing them it is not too late to save them. We are at a critical point in time where our actions now could have eternal consequences but this film is not intended to be another sad story about the devastating state of our oceans but instead a story of hope that will leave its audience with real solutions and feeling empowered to be able to make a change.
Only 7% of our oceans are protected
"If someone were to ask me, how much of your heart do you want to protect? Would 10% be enough? Would 30% be enough? I have to say I would want 100% of my heart protected" - Dr. Sylvia Earle
THE concept: I grew up surrounded by incredible stories of thriving oceans and breathtaking seascapes so full of life they sounded like a fairy tale. Our oceans have changed an unprecedented amount in the last 25 years, we have witnessed the decline of coral reefs globally with mass bleaching events and coral acidification headlining newspapers. We have watched as groundbreaking numbers of species have been shifted onto the IUCN red list and observed fish stocks crash locally and on a global scale. In just 25 years, in just my lifetime the amount our oceans have changed is staggering and the stories I grew up with of incredible thriving oceans have disappeared into history books. Our impact on our planet exists, it can be seen now and it can be seen globally. When you grow up in a time when terms like global warming, deforestation, and extinction are common vocabulary its hard to fully understand the full extent of the level of impact we have had on the natural world, to understand what we have lost we must first know what we had. This film takes its audience on a journey back in time showing how much our oceans have changed from the perspective of multiple generations, illustrating the importance of key habitats such as mangroves and coral reefs and showing how much we have lost in just one generational shift.
However, this will not be a film about the loss, it's a film about hope. I will be highlighting the power of marine protected areas showing there are still places that exist that are thriving and that while we still have these pockets of resistance there is time for us to make an impact and save our oceans. I will show the power of human will and one group's dedication to ocean conservation, planting mangroves, restoring reefs, returning fish biomass to their coastline, and ultimately showing us it is never too late to make a change, it is not too late to save our oceans.
Our oceans contain 99% of living space on our planet
The Alligator Head foundations The Alligator Head foundations work will be the light at the end of the tunnel. This small foundation set up by the community for the community are working to cultivate and transplant corals, plant mangroves and recover the fish biomass in the Portland fish sanctuary. Jamaica lost over 95% of its reefs in the last 30 years but due to the dedication of a few people such as Dr. Buddo and the support of a local fishing community their reefs are recovering with a 5% increase in fish biomass after just 200 days of work. This new MPA is the perfect example of the resilience of our oceans and their ability to recover with our support showing it is not too late to protect our oceans.
about me: I grew up on the coast of the UK and from a young age have been fascinated by our oceans. As an avid diver my father filled my head with incredible tales of pods of wild dolphins so big they were like an off shore wave break and reefs so abundant with sharks it was impossible to imagine a time when they could ever be gone but in just my short life time, In just one generational shift these stories have become just that, stories and tales of abundant thriving oceans have disappeared into history books.
It was my passion for ocean conservation that lead me to San Diego State University where I trained as a Marine Biologist. However, during my time studying marine biology I found one consistent problem, the movement of critical information outside of the scientific community. So many of the threats our oceans face today can be changed by increasing education and general awareness of how our actions impact our oceans.
It was this that lead me into underwater photography and to my work with The Watermen Project. My goal is to be able to showcase the incredible work researchers are doing all around the world in beautiful inspiring films increasing general awareness about critical ocean problems and to act as a role model for girls looking to pursue careers in STEM and Ocean conservation.
Coral reefs could be gone by the end of this century
follow our journey: Throughout the filming of this project we have been giving live updates over social media giving our audience a behind the scenes view of what is going into the creation of this project. These updates were a combination of live feeds, vlogs, blogs and behind the scenes photos bringing you closer to the action than ever before! This additional social content also allows us to dive into the science behind some of these conservation topics in greater detail maximising our educational impact.
Thank you! Thanks for taking the time to read about this project and supporting me on this next exciting step in my career. Please be sure to subscribe to my website and social media channels to stay up to date with the latest film and outreach developments. I look forward to sharing this adventure beneath the waves with you in the very near future. All the Best, Inka
All photos ©Inka cresswell