Sea Change Project
“A lot of people say that an octopus is like an alien, but the strange thing is that as you get closer to them, you realise that we are very similar in a lot of ways.”
My Octopus Teacher feature documentary captures the story of Craig Foster’s year with a wild octopus. He followed this individual animal for most of her life – something that has seldom been achieved in the wild, let alone underwater. The film is due for release in 2020.
Synopsis: My Octopus Teacher takes viewers into a world few humans have ever seen. Eight years ago, debilitated by adrenal fatigue, Craig began free diving in a freezing underwater forest at the tip of Africa. As the icy water re-energised him, he started to film his experiences and in time, a curious young octopus captured his attention. By visiting her den and tracking her movements everyday for months, he won the animal’s trust and they developed an unlikely relationship.
As the little octopus shared the secrets of her world, Craig became witness to the beauty and drama of a wild creature’s life and in the process, underwent an incredible mental and physical transformation.
In partnership with Off The Fence /ZDF Enterprises, My Octopus Teacher has taken over eight years to make. The film is produced by Craig Foster and Directed by Pippa Ehrlich and award-winning filmmaker James Reed (Jago, Rise of the Warrior Apes). The team also includes cinematography by acclaimed underwater cameraman Roger Horrocks (BBC Blue Planet II) and is Executive Produced by
“A real world “Charlotte’s Web” story that is filled with heart and drama and extraordinary beauty, My Octopus Teacher reminds us of the transformative power of love.”
LISA SAMFORD, Jackson Hole Film Festival
Sea Change Project
There is a wild sea forest growing beneath the wind and waves at the southern tip of Africa. Here millions of creatures live in a borderless realm still ungoverned by man and it is strange and beautiful beyond the telling.
Craig Foster and Ross Frylinck grew up playing in these forests, and this early immersion in the ocean had a subtle and profound impact on the course of their lives. Sea Change: Primal Joy and the Art of Underwater Tracking, edited by Philippa Ehrlich, documents their rediscovery of the forests of their childhood and showcases Craig’s photographic work over the past decade.
Craig has become a leading naturalist in kelp forest ecology and developed the world’s first documented form of underwater tracking. Diving without wetsuits in the icy waters, both Ross and Craig discovered how immersion in the cold generated new reserves of energy for their minds and bodies, and how curious forest creatures became more receptive to them.
The book reveals new biological discoveries, as well as insights into our human origins, and our primal connection with nature.
Most of all the book is a love story about the unexpected relationships we can have with wild animals, each other, and the wildness that still thrives within us. Published in 2018 by Quivetree Publications.
“What an inspiration! I have rarely, if ever, seen a book which is as equally visually and textually stunning as this one. And that it comes now, when we are ruining the oceans, their reefs and the life that they sustain… Sea Change is an awakening”.
ANN DRUYAN, Cosmos Studios
100% of our proceeds from our book sales go to support the Ocean through the Sea Change Project.
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Sea Change Project
We call our work “living science” because we are studying the lives of kelp forest animals and bring their stories to life in our media projects. We recognise how powerful the combination of science and media can be and this has inspired us to start our Sea Change Living Science Division. With a strong focus on invertebrate biology and particularly the behaviour of octopuses, this arm of the Sea Change Project will bring marine biology to life through vigorous research and groundbreaking media projects.
The Great African Sea Forest teems with life, much of which remains to be explored. Over the past 8 years the Sea Change Team have documented a plethora of animal behaviours that are new to science, and even discovered several new species.
We work in close co-operation with many top scientists and a number of our discoveries have resulted in biological research with leading research institutions. Craig’s mentor and friend, Prof. Charles Griffiths from the University of Cape Town has been instrumental in solving many kelp forest mysteries and is an integral part of the Sea Change Living Science team.
An original example is the official first description of three species of Heteromysis shrimps. The first (Heteromysis fosteri) was named after Craig Foster. Another one (H. cancelli), found by Sea Change scientist Dr. Jannes Landschoff was named after a Cancellus hermit crab because it lives inside the shells of a hermit crab. The last one (H. octopodis), which Craig and Jannes found together living inside octopus dens, was named after the octopus from the film.
This profound understanding of marine biology has already proven to be an invaluable tool for storytelling in the creation of our book and film.
Sea Change Project
“We have taken hundreds of people into the kelp forest and have watched with fascination how they have been transformed by the power of this environment. Welcome to the magical kingdom”.
The Great African Sea Forest is one of the most visually captivating environments on our planet, making multimedia exhibits an ideal way to share our stories.
Our first exhibition was an outdoor photographic exhibit on the Sea Point promenade in Cape Town. Set against the backdrop of the ocean, it was seen by an estimated 1 million people.
Currently our exhibition team Ross Frylinck, Carina Frankal and Faine Loubser are working on an international exhibit with batwin + robin productions, an acclaimed multimedia design
company based in New York.
Through floor-to-ceiling projections, physical recreations and interactive displays, visitors will be take on a visual exploration of the intertidal zone, be submerged in the kelp forest and be inspired to strengthen their own connection with nature.
Our displays will also explore the latest research into the origin of modern human behaviour, as well as showcase scientific research conducted by our partners in marine biology, conservation, anthropology and archaeology.
We are also working on site specific installations in South Africa.
We are looking to partner with communities, museums, science centres, universities, galleries and aquariums worldwide.
Sea Change Project
We are building a nature-based community where participants can experience a sense of belonging and support, while becoming ocean ambassadors. Our work includes the only program of its kind that explores
the link between human origins and marine biology.
In partnership with Dr. Kerry Sink, SANBI (South African National biodiversity Institute) we have been given the opportunity to help expand South Africa’s marine protected areas and empower young scientists to raise awareness of our ancient relationship with the ocean.
The Sea Change Kids Outreach Program, facilitated by Lisa Beasley, has been designed to bring the Sea Change experience to young people who otherwise would not have meaningful access to the ocean.
We currently take school kids, family groups and scout groups to the tidal pools in False Bay.