Chile, From Santiago to Valparaíso
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

After Puerto Montt, the second half of the series of screenings in Chile unfolded at universities in Santiago and Valparaíso.  Although they shared the name, "Universidad Católica", there was no connection between the two.  We were in Santiago thanks to an invitation by Professor José M. Farina, showing the film in their downtown campus, a few minutes away from sadly famous since 1973 Palacio de la Moneda.  Had a most interesting conversation with Professor Farina where he let me know that Ocean Acidification is not one of the top priorities or concerns amongst the small oceanography and marine biology community in Chile and that, needless to say, the phenomenon is completely unknown by the general public. Things like climate change, pollution from salmon farms, green tides, the niño/niña phenomenon or water hypoxia rank much higher in the agenda.  I knew nothing about water hypoxia and was fascinated and terrified by the description.  It seems that along the Chilean coast there is a not too deep layer of water depleted of oxygen, a dead zone for marine fauna. Sometimes, for reasons they are studying, it slowly raises up to the surface like an silky vail of death and kills all life it touches.  
At the screening the attending students had organized an informal pre-screening informal gathering with coffee and pastries, so we got to meet and chat for a few minutes before, which was a great idea because I felt it broke the ice for later.  We had a small technical problem that turned images rather green (green tide!), but they all watched with great interest nonetheless and our conversation and q&a afterwards lasted longer than the film itself.  There were members of the Ecology, Biology, Oceanography and Environmental Sciences Departments and I learned a lot from them while also trying to emphasize the need society has of their work and our desire to bring changes to the world. Enthusiasm run high and I was promised screenings at schools around Santiago to educate kids about Ocean Acidification and the beginning by one of the students of a small college newspaper about marine science. I do not really know if any of it will actually happen, these were promises made in the heat of the moment, but their feelings and passion were so sincere that they alone would have made completely worth our efforts to fly to Chile this month.

The next morning I was on a bus to Valparaíso for our final showing in the country.  While in Santiago I had stayed a block away from Pablo Neruda's house "La Chascona", the one ransacked by Pinochet's hyenas, and upon my arrival into "Valpo" I discovered my accommodation was also five minutes from "La Sebastiana", his home sitting on a hill. Fresco detail in La Chascona
Neruda loved the oceans, he obsessed with ships and anything smelling of salt and iodine, evoking sea travel.  In the houses he built he always tried to replicate the interior of sailboats: the dining rooms are long, narrow, with low ceilings, the wooden floors crack, gently rocking below your feet, certain windows are portholes and most of furniture came from sea vessels, like the gorgeous bar where he entertained and prepared cocktails for friends, the office desk on the last floor that had once belonged to the captain of a merchant ship or the nightstands by the large bed. He amassed a vast collection of shells and several majestic figureheads.  Like a beachcomber, he was a collector of everything and anything, constantly thirsty for beauty and uniqueness.  The house in Valparaíso is in the perfect location to encompass the whole bay.  Beside one of its ample windows he placed his favorite armchair; it is there he wrote many of his poems, always using green ink, perching over the harbor, getting up every now and then to look into his spyglass at distant ships.  But, surprisingly, Pablo Neruda was also utterly terrified of being aboard a ship and in the few occasions he did he became terribly seasick.  A perfect epitome of the Chilean man, enveloped in the unequivocal presence of the Pacific Ocean, swirling in a game of love, fascination, dependence and fear, but a distant stranger to it all the same.

The pretty theater at the Universidad Católica de Valparaíso was full on both floors with kids and young adults, most in school uniforms. The screening went well, colors looked the way they should and our conversation at the end was extremely lengthy once again.  I might talk too much.  Professors complained about the lack of interest from Chilean students in science, marine science more in particular, and those young men and women asked some very good questions.  Several got carried away like in Santiago and offered to spread the word on Ocean Acidification in schools and amongst friends.  All that time we were less than a hundred meters from the water, but a road and a fence separated the bay from us, making it invisible.  Maybe that is why most of the attendants had never even seen Valparaíso and the seals living in the harbor from the water.  Ms. Marina Vivar, from the local Natural History Museum purchased a copy of the film and asked if it would be ok to have it loop-playing in their newly renovated facilities. Another lady, the head of science college programs in the region, purchased one as well and proposed further screenings at the university and to leave the documentary also available in the video library.  I was invited to lunch (fish soup, finally) by organizing Professor Sergio Palma, and walked from there to the harbor, where old fishing boats are now used to take tourists around the huge dock cranes, through the shipyard, the harems of seals around the blubbery male and the frightening gray muscle of the chilean navy, to the open view of tutti frutti Valparaíso, the city that draws itself on walls and doors, always facing the sea, seldom in it.

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Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

I had not heard about Ocean Acidification until I began working for Niijii Films on A Sea Change. The research, the people we talked to, experts we interviewed, places we saw have affected me deeply. If I had to describe it in a nutshell I would highlight two aspects: I am much more sensitive to the real energy requirements of my daily life (=I am a very high maintenance person for this planet) and I look at fish and the seas with new (sadder) eyes. I try to eat less fish and completely avoid certain species; when I am by or underwater I feel a cocktail of guilt and sadness with a touch of despair. I look at things with the intentness you devote to your love leaving at the station.

This was an introduction to ask a small/big favor from you, our readers, our Facebook friends, "likers": Barbara Ettinger, the directress, asked me if I could ask you to write to us, directly on Facebook or via email ( and tell us if the documentary has affected you in any way, if it has changed anything in your life, in the way you look at things, if it has prompted you to take political action, to make donations, to spread the word about Ocean Acidification, if you plan to organize a screening, join an environmental group, ride the bike to work, eat less candy. I know I have asked for feedback in the past (with little success), so this time I am going to entice you with a FREE DVD copy of the documentary (shipping included, and that is worldwide) to the first visionary person that writes to the email address above with a short/long text and guesses the number between 1 and 10 that I have on a post-it by my refrigerator door. 
Please write to us, do it for Barbara, for Sven, for Elias, do it for my ego, do it so I do not lose my job, so you win a chance to watch the film over and over and over again from the comfort of your couch.

Beautiful beautiful lionfish at the Paris Aquarium (where they have a DVD copy of A Sea Change as well). There is an interesting story about lionfish and their slow spread around the world. You can read it HERE

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We Need Your Help!
Saturday, June 10, 2017
We've just received word from Netflix that A Sea Change is officially a 'saved' film in their terminology. This means that they're waiting to see how many people put it in their queue before they decide if they'll carry it. With over 50 film festivals worldwide, a national broadcast on Planet Green and hundreds of community screenings we're curious what it takes to get accepted outright. But Netflix has a big audience and we want more people to see the film and learn about ocean acidification, so we see this as a challenge to our network of  If you have a Netflix account or know someone who does, please take a minute to put us in your queue and to ask your friends to do the same thing. It's free, it's easy and it will make a difference. Here's our link

Speaking of documentary film festivals, Barbara and Sven just returned (briefly) home after attending the screening of their film at the Chesapeake Film Festival, while here at the virtual office we were informed that the film had been selected for the Festival du Film de L'environnement in Kairouan, Tunisia, in early December. How nice is that?
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Saturday, June 10, 2017
On Earth Day this week, Barbara and Sven were announced as 2010 NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Environmental Heroes for their tireless work to bring attention to ocean acidification through A Sea Change.  To see the official announcement, click here.
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Sustainable filmmaking--discussion begins
Saturday, June 10, 2017

Before production, Barbara Ettinger,Sven Husby, and Ben Kalina talk about how to go about green filmmaking.From the paper in the printer to lights on the set: we can't takeanything for granted any more. Especially not if we're going to make afilm about the consequences of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

As we got started on our documentary about how carbon dioxide is radically reshaping the world's oceans we were eager, and maybe even felt a bit obligated, to try to reduce the CO2 footprint of our own filmmaking process.  In this 3 minute clip, filmed as production began in the spring of 2007, Barbara, Sven and Ben talk about their big ideas for making A Sea Change a sustainable film production. 

This will be the first of many blog entries focused on sustainable filmmaking.  As we chart the trials and tribulations of walking the walk of reducing our filmmaking footprint, we're eager to hear your thoughts on what we tried to do, what we might have done, and what you're doing in the film and video universe to reduce your impact on the planet. 

We've been working since the beginning of 2007 with the Greencode Project, an international collective of filmmakers based in Canada working to promote and establish environmentally friendly practices that willhelp create an International set of standards for the film and mediaindustry.  We're also working with Carbon Planet, based in Australia, who are helping us to conduct an energy audit to establish a carbon footprint for our film which will help us to estimate how many carbon credits we're going to need to buy to offset the mess we've made during the production of A Sea Change.

Special thanks to Josh Aronson for shooting.

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A fledgling Sea Change in Florida
Saturday, June 10, 2017

11icrs_header_logoA 20-minute, work-in-progress cut from A Sea Change will screen in early July in the Educational Center at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Though the symposium is for scientists, the Educational Center is open to the public, so we're hoping to get some feedback we can keep in mind as we continue to craft the full-length documentary.

We're very happy to have a presence there: the symposium is sanctioned by the International Society for Reef Studies (ICRS) and only happens every four years. The timing is impeccable, as far as we're concerned.

Coral is particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification: reef researchers are our natural allies.

Did you know this is the International Year of the Reef, btw?

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A virtual Sea Change
Saturday, June 10, 2017

We were delighted to be invited to participate in a web conference for marine educators on Monday. Sven was our intrepid pioneer into virtuality. The event was put together by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, as a lead-up to the Fishers Forum in Honolulu.

Moving forward, we're eager to create more opportunities for robust, virtual presence. A super way to lower our CO2 footprint and put our $ where our mouth is. Though (twist here) we wouldn't say no to the occasional jaunt to, say, Bora Bora, if we can optimize our carbon expenditure.

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A sea change
Saturday, June 10, 2017

We're certainly not the only entity called "A Sea Change." It's an evocative, enduring phrase, used variously by a brand-new grantmaking entity, an album by Beck, a search firm for ophthalmologists, a photo essay in Mother Jones, and a book about migration in Australia, to name just a few.

The phrase comes to us courtesy of Mr. Shakespeare, naturally, from Ariel's song in The Tempest (1,ii,403).

The full text:

Full fathom five thy Father lies,
Of his bones are Corrall made:
Those are pearles that were his eies,
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a Sea-change
Into something rich & strange
Sea-Nymphs hourly ring his knell.
Harke now I heare them, ding-dong, bell.

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World Ocean Day 2009--party with A Sea Change
Saturday, June 10, 2017

The problem of ocean acidification is global.

Californiajan08day1023inThat's why we want to spark awareness of the issue with a series of international events on World Ocean Day 2009, June 8.

As an anchor event we invite you to screen A Sea Change. Maybe you'd like to use the opportunity to raise awareness around your own ocean- or climate-change related issue. Or simply screen the film as a stand-alone event. Perhaps you'd like to present a panel discussion afterward, including scientists and other experts from your own region. Other possible events could be a weekend of ocean-related activities for all ages. Or a webcast linking celebrations across the globe. Maybe a flotilla in your local harbor.Sfts_logo_notag_final

Already on board are our partners Sailors for the Sea. We'll be screening the film with them in Boston, building other local events around the screening.

We're hoping that related events will take place on every continent, and that these events can be linked via the Internet. Ocean acidification is an international concern. We need to work together to solve it.

We'll complete editing of the film by the end of this year. In the meantime, we're eager to start conversations with you about supporting our shared goal for protecting the oceans.

Please let us know if you'd like to partner with us for World Ocean Day 2009. Let's have the best party ever and invite the world.

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A Sea Change coming
Saturday, June 10, 2017

Look for the world premiere in early 2009. Meanwhile, watch the trailer here. Or if you have trouble viewing it, please visit our YouTube channel.

Editor Toby Shimin iscutting away in upstate New York. We've nearly got a fine cut. The story has emerged and we''ve found the balance we were looking for between the scientific data andthe emotional stakes. (We have 150 hours of footage, so Toby hadher work cut out for her. Look for some of the material we won't beable to include in the feature-length documentary here in our blog andon the DVD.)

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