OUTLINE

This year, the Wavescape Surf & Ocean Festival hosts the fourth iteration of their filmmaker’s masterclass, which is presented by Wesgro. The theme is Changing Oceans: how to make impactful conservation documentaries. The masterclass – in collaboration with the UK Government’s Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) who manage the Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLiP) – brings together some of South Africa’s top conservation experts and environmental filmmakers to discuss the challenges they face.

Date:               4 December 2019
Time:               6.30 to 9pm (R20 thro Quicket, drinks and refreshment free)
Venue:             Invest SA One Stop Shop, Western Cape
Address:          Cape Sun Corner, 46 St. Georges Mall, Cape Town
Parking:           Picbel Parkade, 58 Strand Street, Cape Town Centre (For own account)

RATIONALE

The Changing Oceans Masterclass will comprise a panel of speakers who will discuss the changing narratives necessary to conscientize an audience to a conservation cause. We look at the challenges facing filmmakers, who must overcome denialism and corporate diversion from conservation stories when they impact profits.

Moderated by filmmaker Chris Mason of Mason Brothers Film, speakers will include such luminaries as:

* Bryan Little: an award-winning filmmaker who counts among his greatest honours “looking at an orb spider with Sir David Attenborough on the side of the M3”
* Swati Foster: an award-winning environmental journalist from India and founding member of the Sea Change Project in Cape Town
* Anna Breytenbach: a South African interspecies communicator, animal activist, conservationist, and public speaker.

The Masterclass plots the way forward for filmmakers faced with a battery of challenges to telling compelling stories that incite conservation action. We look at the kind of film – from technique to narrative – that are the most powerful vehicles to initiate changes in mindsets.

We discuss how we negotiate the tricky strategies that corporates use to obfuscate issues, or even push a denialist agenda. We try to answer questions such as “Why is it so hard to tell conservation stories?” We look at the hegemonic dominance that keeps activism at bay by the rich and powerful.

We discuss why climate change denialists have such a voice, and we look at the weapons used by the corporate world to cleverly and insidiously subvert the documentary process of filmmakers trying to document the degradation of the natural world.

Part of the answer lies in the observations, anecdotes and experience gleaned by Breytenbach, who has spent many hours studying the invisible relationships between animals and humans in the outdoors.

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