[Note: This review of "A Sea Change," including the Q & A with the producer, appeared in the Nevada City Advocate newspaper as part of a set of reviews for the 8th Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival.]
Face it.So many ultra daunting issues loom. We’d rather not face it.
Any filmmaker who can lighten the heaviness has gone a long way to coaxing people to educate themselves and crystalize awareness toward action.The film “A Sea Change” does not pull any punches, but director, Barbara Ettinger, and educator, Sven Huseby, have mastered a highly embraceable serious tone for an environmental film.
A dedicated educator and activist discovers some scary and depressing things about our oceans.The subject resonates with him because his heritage and life experience is much tied to the sea.
There’s this thing called acidification.That is, we’re pumping so much carbon dioxide into our atmosphere it is already changing the acid balance of the ocean. Increasingly vulnerable, and already dying, are tiny creatures whose shells are affected.They serve as the broad-based bottom of the food chain and coral reefs that are the foundation of entire eco-systems.
Add to that how unrelentingly we harvest the bounty of the sea, and we hardly need to bring up global warming to be thoroughly depressed.
Besides the gentle demeanor and active intelligence of the central player in this documentary, the film weaves this man’s loving relationship with his grandson prominently into the story.The kid is a sweetheart, and quite intelligent.
The story involves channeling love and playfulness and sharing and caring. It sets the stage and the script and the motivation to know what a better future demands, to want a better future, and to pursue a better future.
Face it.So many ultra daunting issues loom. For the grandchildren, face it.
= = = = = Q and A with "A Sea Change" producer, Sven Huseby = = = = =
Chuck Jaffee: Are you saying that if we can galvanize humanity about something more specific like ocean acidification, there’s a better chance to assemble momentum about global warming?
Sven Huseby: With the challenges of living in a high carbon world,we focused more narrowly because global warming is so complex that few scientists are confident about mastering it.CO2 is chemistry 101.Thirty percent goes into the ocean and a slew of calcifying [shell] organisms are seriously at risk. We took our skill set to do what we can do, to tell the story, to raise money and attention.
CJ: Where do you see the most traction for being optimistic?
SH: Europe is doing extraordinary things.China has big scale projects:a solar project in Mongolia; a world leader in electric cars and batteries. China sees money in going green.
CJ: How does all this ocean acidification and global warming menace make you feel?
SH: It’s hard. I worry a lot.I keep asking myself about my four grandchildren who will live toward the end of this century. Kids understand about conserving energy.They know CO2 is an issue.They’re excited about being part of the solution.
CJ: What have you learned from your grandson, Elias, whose part in your film does so much to lift “A Sea Change” above many other well made environmental films?
SH: What a wonderful kid he is; how thoughtful and smart he is.We never fed him a line. He never looks at the lens as politicians do.
CJ: Pursuing knowledge seems to drive you at least as much as an activist sense of purpose does.What does it feel like to make a film where you get to learn so much?
SH: I feel like I’ve done a degree in graduate school.