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Documentary showcases island’s leading role in ocean conservation

Showcasing Bermuda: film-makers Ivan Williams, Shireen Rahimi, Phoebe Fitz and Kevin Richards

A documentary film showcasing Bermuda’s leading role in conservation and the development of a blue economy could be shown at a series of international film festivals.

The Hollywood producer behind The Heart of the Sea also hoped that the film will get the backing of movie stars such as George Clooney and Michael Douglas.

The documentary short was the brainchild of Bermudian business leader Kevin Richards, the managing director of Bermuda Asset Management, and founder of the Bermuda Innovation and Technology Association.

He said the film will promote Bermuda’s “innovative ecosystem, its natural heritage and resources and as a place for the blue economy to flourish”.

Work on the project began after Mr Richards had a chance meeting with producer Ivan Williams in Beverly Hills, California, ahead of the Oscars awards ceremony last year.

Mr Richards said: “We really wanted to showcase some of the amazing projects that are happening in Bermuda and then tie that back to how the country was founded, the fact that it is such a unique place.

“We started with shipwrecks and then innovation in brain corals and how genetics is being used to protect the reefs.

“We then flow that into what the Government is doing with the blue economy and how we are not only a small island — we’re a big blue state and has a lot of influence on the global stage.

“We have a narrative that weaves into our cultural history. As someone who has spent the last eight years flying around the world trying to represent Bermuda, people just don’t understand how we’re different.

“I felt that we needed a hook and something that was visually captivating and represented Bermuda in a non-tourism way – in a way that was showcasing how innovative and forward-thinking the country is.”

Mr Williams explained: “When I met Kevin in Beverly Hills he shared his vision of what he’s trying to accomplish, and I thought his vision was a major cinematic storytelling opportunity.

“I’m very passionate about scientists and their exploration, but how does it reach to the general public? How does it connect?

“We see glaciers melting in Antarctica but for some reason the public is maybe not just getting an understanding of the climate crisis we’re in.

“I want to use my platform, which is cinematic story telling, and Kevin said he’s trying to connect to Bermuda’s Blue Economy and how to engage people.”

The film was given its world premiere at the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai in December and was shown to an audience in Bermuda for the first time at the International Tech Summit last week.

Mr Williams said audience reaction has been “strong”.

He explained: “We crafted a storyline that we think captures not only Bermuda’s beautiful underwater environment but wraps that into the cultural underpinnings of a story.

“It’s not just about science and pretty pictures of fish, but how does that connect to the culturally important elements of Bermuda?”

The nine-minute film features breathtaking underwater photography interspersed with interviews with marine scientist Philippe Rouja, genetics researcher Carika Weldon, Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, and writer Angela Barry, the film’s guide and narrator.

Shireen Rahimi, the film’s director, said it will send a message that the island is at the cutting edge of adaptation and ocean conservation.

Dr Rahimi, a free-diving cinematographer who has worked for National Geographic, said: “Bermuda is also a place with strong cultural traditions that inform this attitude of resilience towards climate change and all of these issues that are seemingly overwhelming.

“The whole world is having to deal with these issues in a way that is unprecedented. We’re setting Bermuda up as an example of how islands and other places can adapt.

“I think there are few places on Earth where the potential is really there to not only have strong conservation regulation that can be enforced but also strong investment into climate innovation and a strong and healthy cultural relationship with the ocean.

“I think that’s culturally rooted in Bermuda. I think that people here have learnt to deal with adversity and be resilient in the face of the harsh natural elements for generations. That is an attitude or predisposition that will be necessary to deal with the upcoming challenges of climate change.”

The team has contacted international distributors in a move to give the film a wider audience.

Mr Williams added: “I’m currently working on a film with George Clooney and I’m planning to get The Heart of the Sea in front of George and his wife, Amal to see if they can get interested in this whole aspect.

“I also would love and hope that Michael Douglas gets to see this film.”

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Published May 07, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated May 07, 2024 at 10:53 am)

Documentary showcases island’s leading role in ocean conservation

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