Friday, March 4, 2011

Filmmaker Q&A: Nannette Van Antwerp,"Raja Ampat"

Nannette Van Antwerp, newcomer to the Ocean Film Festival, is an experienced and passionate diver whose love for the ocean its intriguing life shines through her film “Raja Ampat.” Filmed in Indonesia’s Raja Ampat the film highlights a wealth of exotic creatures sure to delight audiences and inspire viewers to consider how we can all preserve the oceans for future generations. Catch “Raja Ampat” on Sunday March 13th as part of Program 10. Click here to buy tickets.

What is your overall summary for the film?

A sampling of some of the amazing marine life found in Indonesia’s Raja Ampat archipelago, from giant manta rays to seahorses smaller than your fingernail.

What was your inspiration for creating the film?

After seeing first-hand the beauty and diversity of Raja’s reefs and the life that lives there, I wanted to be able to share that in some way with other divers and non-divers alike.

What was the most challenging part of creating the film?

Shooting video underwater is always challenging, as you have to deal with currents, surge, variable light conditions and time limits imposed by the rules of diving, among other things. But the most challenging thing may have been choosing from the many hours of footage shot on the trip, which clips to include in the film.

What do you want to impart on your film’s viewers?

I hope that they can get some of the same sense of the wonder I feel when I see these amazing creatures and their behaviors and adaptations that allow them to each live in their own little niche on the reef.

What was the most enjoyable part of creating the film?

I love the ocean, and spending time on a boat in a remote Indonesian paradise while diving multiple times a day is my idea of heaven!

Who (or what) is your inspiration?

Mostly I’m inspired by all the amazingly alien life that lives in the ocean. The underwater world is a constant source of wonder for me. After more than 1000 dives all over the world, I still see something I’ve never seen before every time I get in the water. It makes me want to share these wonders with people who would otherwise never get the chance to see them, and hopefully inspire them to want to respect and protect the ocean as well.

How or why did you begin creating ocean-focused films?

I got certified to dive in 2000 and started shooting video underwater in 2002 as a way to share our adventures with friends and family. Over the years my editing style has evolved from making longer travelogue-style videos into creating more natural history-style short films. I’m still strictly an amateur with a lot to learn and I create the videos because I enjoy making them and sharing them with others.

Why did you choose to submit your film to the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival?

I’m always happy to support events that educate people and create awareness about issues related to the ocean, and I’m very excited to be part of this film festival.

Is this your first time participating in an ocean-focused film festival?

Yes, in fact it’s my first film festival of any kind.

What was the most memorable moment in creating the film?

After many dives all over the world, one of the creatures my husband and I most wanted to see that had so far eluded us was a blue-ringed octopus. At the end of one dive in the middle of our Raja Ampat trip, I looked over to see one of the dive guide frantically gesturing for me to come over. Sure enough, there was a beautiful little blue-ring out in the open crawling across the reef—a spectacular sight! Unfortunately, my husband wasn’t feeling well that day and had sat out the dive. I could hardly bring myself to tell him about it when we got back to the boat. At least he got to see it on video…

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