Welcome, visitor!   Register   Login


Post an Ad
Menu Post an Ad

2016 Film Festival: Sea Blind

    Art & Design, Film Festival, People & Places    February 19, 2016

The following article was written by Robert McTavish as part of a series of articles about filmmakers coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival on March 4-6, 2016.

Filmmaker Sarah Robertson and editor Jennifer Abbott will be attending the festival and leading a discussion about the film following the screening.

Sea Blind

When filmmaker Sarah Robertson began work on a wide-ranging project dealing with the future of the Arctic, she quickly realized her first sub-topic was just the tip of its own iceberg. All of a sudden she was racing to make a different film, about pollution issues in global shipping, and to finish in time to screen at the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. “Some people deep in the emissions talks didn’t even know about the issues!” she says, while the industry’s huge fleet and increasing impact on the north make it a crisis hiding in plain sight.

Sarah Robertson

Sarah Robertson

Sea Blind is the resulting documentary, and it’s message is unforgettable. More than 100,000 ships carry 90% of world trade every day, and just seventeen of the largest ones emit more sulfur and black carbon than all the cars on the planet. As pollution furthers global warming, the arctic ice recedes and is creating a global short cut – including the fabled Northwest passage. But faster and cheaper is not necessarily better because shipping is one of the least regulated industries in the world while the ships burn the dirtiest fuel on the planet. With all eyes on land-based emissions, the sea has few regulations and the Arctic has none. As more and more ships ply the northern seas, the status quo must go.

Yet how to get that message across? “The biggest challenge was to learn,” says Robertson. “It was a challenge for me because it was very technical, chockablock full with information and a huge amount of research to get a handle on and pare down for people.” This the film does well, including an ordered breakdown of how ships’ black carbon hits the snow as soot and speeds up the melt – a 40% increase in Greenland alone that could be avoided with cleaner fuel initiatives. Of course, stunning northern landscapes and inventive graphics also bring a ringing clarity to the argument.

A good story helps too, and this comes in the form of environmental journalist and explorer Bernice Notenboom’s failed 2014 attempt to ski from the North Pole to Canada. “I’ve always loved the imagery of pulling the 200 pound sled, and thought it was a great juxtaposition with the fact of shipping over the globe,” says Robertson. With Notenboom’s sled unable to go on, the camera’s gaze turns seaward. Robertson says the Arctic will never be the same: “How to get our stuff through has always been the challenge. But now we are at the cusp of being able to do it. After three to four hundred years of arctic exploration, an era has gone by. So what’s next?”

Of course more than the arctic is at stake with climate change, and slowing the melt will buy us some very valuable time. “One interesting thing in the film is that everyone is implicated,” says Robertson. “It’s a global problem, and people are surpised by that. It actually does have something to do with them.” She notes that while shipping firms are beginning to address health and pollution concerns, public pressure through spending habits and a push for official regulation are needed here at home, “Because the shipping industry changes very slowly, but by being more conscious the consumer can effect change very fast.”

Now back at her home in Victoria, Robertson continues work with Notenboom on the original project, called Arctic March, and the trips to the far north continue. But there is time to screen Sea Blind at this year’s Salt Spring Film Festival, and to continue the dialogue with the audience she works so hard to reach. “Once we start telling these stories, people have the chance to understand and get involved,” she says. “There are solutions out there!”

And Sea Blind was co-written and edited by multi-award-winning, Salt Spring-based filmmaker Jennifer Abbott, who’ll be joining us for the screening along with Sarah. She is best known as one of the directors and editor of The Corporation. Most recently, she co-directed Us and Them, a portrait of 4 homeless and addicted street people. Jenn is especially interested in creating emotionally powerful works that inspire people to think differently about our world. Currently, she is in development with the NFB on a documentary about the psychology of climate change.

Jennifer Abbott

Jennifer Abbott

The Filmmaker series is sponsored by Stonehouse Bed and Breakfast.
Salt Spring - Stone House Bed and Breakfast Logo

Comments May Not Be Seen by the Author

No Tags

  

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Post an Event

Community News

  • Watch: Salt Spring Unicorn Riders Associ...

    by on December 5, 2018

    Recently Rachel Notley while speaking to an Alberta Teachers’ Association was heard grumbling: “Maybe on Salt Spring Island you can build an economy on condos and coffee shops but not in Edmonton and not anywhere in Alberta,” and “Here in Alberta we ride horses, not unicorns, and I invite pipeline opponents to saddle up on […]

  • Let’s Try and Win the $60,000,000 ...

    by on December 4, 2018

    December 7th, 2018 Draw! – If this ticket wins the full amount of the big draw of the LOTTO MAX on Friday this week, with an estimated $60,000,000 jackpot, we’ll share a portion of the winnings with everyone from Salt Spring Island, BC that has subscribed to our Salt Spring Exchange email newsletter, liked and […]

  • First Cold Snap

    by on December 3, 2018

    Just a quick note that the first cold weather of the year is forecast for this week, with night time lows by Wednesday and Thursday forecast to drop well below freezing in some parts of the region. That’s the signal to finish mulching everything if you haven’t done so already. Now is the time to […]

  • Buy Local, Including Your Local Media

    by on December 3, 2018

    The BC Buy Local campaign celebrates local business to promote the contributions that BC businesses make to our local economy and our communities. The goal of the campaign is to illuminate the local market, making BC-based businesses, products, food and wines more visible to consumers. Think about this too when you spend time online, where […]

  • Hands On – Video Series Features S...

    by on November 30, 2018

    In this digital age there has been a shift in how we relate to our physical things. It is more common to buy things than make them. It is more common to stream music than to learn an instrument. There is great satisfaction in working with your hands. If you are baking bread you know […]

  • A Surprise Proposal; Facilitated by Stra...

    by on November 28, 2018

    This past July a mystery person using a pseudonym posted an ad on the Salt Spring Exchange, three people sent it to me, I had to know more… The first person who sent me the mystery classified ad requesting, “a photographer for a surprise proposal,” was my Mom. And like all things your Mom sends […]

  • Salt Spring’s First Neighbourhood Small ...

    by on November 28, 2018

    The Salt Spring Island Foundation, in partnership with Salt Spring Island Community Services, is pleased to announce the recipients of our first Neighbourhood Small Grants. The Neighbourhood Small Grants program offers grants of $50 to $500 to local projects and events run by people who are passionate about giving back to the community and who […]

  • Salt Spring Island Electoral Area –...

    by on November 16, 2018

    What is a Public Alert Notification System? (PANS) – In the case of a public safety incident, the Public Alert Notification system will be used to deliver critical and potentially life- saving alerts to residents and stakeholders who have registered. This information can help you and your family know what to do, where to go, […]

  • Video: B.C.’s Electoral System: Tr...

    by on November 16, 2018

    Still sitting on your mail-in ballot to vote in B.C.’s electoral reform referendum? Still not sure how to vote? Feeling the November 30th deadline looming? This video should help, by offering valuable facts about our First Past The Post system, exposing misleading myths and misconceptions. Since 2002, I’ve been keen on electoral reform. Adriane Carr […]

Pin It on Pinterest