Oct 2, 2008

Winter Comes to An End

Well I'm happy to say that winter finally came to an end. August and September brought much rain and gloomy days but now that October is here the weather has changed for the better. People are crawling out of their homes to witness miraculously clear days and longer hours of sunshine. It has been particularly exciting for me as this seasonal change has given me much more time to get outside for film and photograph opportunities.

(Portobello Sunrise, Otago Peninsula)

Currently I'm in Kaikoura, two hours north of Christchurch at the Kaikoura Seafest, an annual festival which celebrates the sea's bounty. Nearly 6,000 people converge on the tiny town for a two day event featuring music and much seafood. This Seafest is particularly interesting because it sources most of its seafood from the local sustainable industry and it openly promotes itself as a "premiere celebration of the abundance of the oceans and all it represents." The spirit of the festival is a beacon of local Kiwis' goodwill and respect for the ocean and its inhabitants, a message which I hope to convey in my documentary.

Yesterday I spent a few hours filming the set-up. It took nearly all day for the central tent, the so-called "Big-Top" to go up as well as the surrounding vendor stalls. Tonight is the pre-event, a four hour "Big Bash" before the actual Seafest begins tomorrow. I'm looking forward to filming a number of seafood cooking presentations and interviewing some of the many patrons who are attending the festival. During my initial filming, I met two local Paua fishermen, Jim and Kev who dive for large hand-sized Paua shells which they then throw on the bbq, apparently the taste is exquisite. They are excited to take me out on their boat and Jim, a character in his own right, said "Once you have Paua you'll never eat another cow again." What a very true and relevant quote.

(On the road to Gillespie Beach)

While it is wonderful that Jim loves seafood, his statement also sheds light on a growing issue worldwide and one at the heart of sustainability and my documentary. People are coming to realize that seafood is not only better for you but leaves a smaller carbon footprint than say beef or pork does. And while this realization is good, our exorbitant consumption of seafood is putting an innapropriate amount of stress of fish stocks and as a result threatening the very protein source that we have recently become so fond of. As a result, it is difficult as a filmmaker to balance the dualistic nature of an event like the Kaikoura Seafest. One on hand you have an event that represents seafood gluttony and on the other it is a celebration which opens peoples' eyes to both the quality of fish meat and the importance of saving some for future generations. The key is finding an equilibrium between the two, which I think is a notion at the very heart of sustainability.
(Moeraki Lighthouse on Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula)