Audience Award
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Earlier this week A Sea Change won the Best World Documentary Audience Award at the Sedona International Film Festival.  Ever since the FICA Film Festival in Brazil in June of 2009 our documentary has won numerous prizes, but I am sure that this one is particularly meaningful for Barbara Ettinger and Sven Huseby; we are all very happy.

I know when Barbara was planning the documentary and choosing a narrative line, a point of view and a voice for the film, one of her greatest concerns was how to present such a challenging and unknown scientific subject in a fashion that was both entertaining and informative for all audiences.  Understanding acidity and navigating through figures, parts per million and historical levels of CO2 is not too, let's say, sexy. Just the term "ocean acidification" is a cacophony, a mouthful.  When we were shooting in Seattle in 2008 there was talk among us and among some scientists about coining a new term, something that was as easy to understand and utter as "global warming".

In December each copy of the new magazine Oceanography included a DVD of A Sea Change.  Ellen S. Kappelwas wrote an editorial titled "Making Could Into Something We Can Sell" in which she talked about the difficulties scientists face when communicating with the public and how "cautious scientific language can have the unintended consequence of leaving our neighbors uncertain as to what they should care about or whether anything needs to be done immediately".  We live in a world that likes to judge and label, that craves adjectives and adverbs, a world of opinions, and scientists operate in the cautious descriptive world of substantives and prepositions, of letting facts and data speak for themselves and of never showing absolute certainty, because at almost all times certainty is just a notion.

It is hard to please both worlds, but since deep appreciation only comes from understanding, it would be nice to think that Barbara was able to deliver the facts and figures while keeping things understandable, empathic and hopeful and that that is what the audience award is about.

2009 FICA Film Festival in Brazil


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Stirring it up on the West Coast
Saturday, June 10, 2017
In our last entry, we were touring the gold mining town of Nevada city in our new t-shirts, sporting the logo "make films, not war".  This was during the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, just east of Sacramento in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains.  An established environmental film festival, it brings visitors from all over Northern California for a long weekend of back to back environmental film screenings.  We had two screenings with engaged and concerned audiences who were eager to learn more about ocean acidification.  In addition, we met our film making friend, Alan Dater, who was there with Taking Root, the vision of Wangari Maathai of Kenya.  Together with his wife, Lisa Merton, Alan has co-directed and produced a powerful film of what it takes to generate change in the face of fierce political opposition.  We encourage you to see it.    

Nevada City was fascinating.  It was the center of the California Gold Rush back in the 1850's.  Many of the old machines and tools were on display, and the first screening of our film was in the old foundary, that made the gold extraction possible.  Nevada City is a small town of approximate 3,000 people, but it is located in a stunning setting at the lower end of the Yuma River watershed.  We highly recommend a visit if your travels bring you anywhere near that part of the world.

Our next festival was in Sonoma.  It was also an environmental film festival.  The audiences were small (around fifty) but they were hard core.  We had an excellent Q&A and enjoyed the experience.  During the playing of the film, we had a chance to explore the main square and wandered along the perimeter, peering into shop windows with wine for sale, wine glasses for sale, napkins and plates to go with the wine for sale, cheese to put on the plates to go with the wine for sale....you get the picture.  Following the screening we had dinner with someone who works with the Center for Biological Diversity, the NGO where Miyoko Sakashita from the film works.  They are doing bold work in the field of ocean acidification.

Next stop, Palo Alto.  We'll be screening at the Classic Residence by Hyatt on February 11th.  We look forward to it!

We'd like to take a moment to congratulate our friends from The Cove on their nomination for an academy award.  It's a great film, which brings much needed attention to ocean issues.

Finally, we'd like to introduce Daniel de la Calle, who will be making blog entries in addition to our own.  Daniel hails from Spain, and has worked with A Sea Change since its inception, acting as production photographer, so expect to see some incredible images, as well as regularly updated text, going forward.

    The coming months will bring us back to Washington, DC, where we will be in a position to learn more about what leadership the capital is giving to ocean issues.  We will also be checking in with many of our scientist friends and will bring you up to date on the latest research.
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