OCEARCH Mini Documentary
OCEARCH is an organization dedicated to finding a sustainable path forward for ocean life by leading unprecedented white shark research expeditions around the world. They have pioneered methods and technology to tag and track Great White Sharks, and thus collect never-before-had data. With this new data, they are leveraging for protective policies and even a massive educational program to create a generational institution for learning and sustainability. This documentary follows their struggle to remain mission-based and all-inclusive in the search for answers to the ocean’s greatest mysteries.
While taking Captain Kevin McCarey’s environmental filmmaking course at SCAD, our producer stumbled upon the exciting work being done by Chris Fischer and his non-profit OCEARCH. [ocean + research = OCEARCH]
A few emails later, the DP, producer, and myself were packed into my Honda Civic and driving 10 hours to Key West, where the OCEARCH crew was docked. The doc came together pretty quickly after that. Much of the footage in the doc came from their archive of expedition footage, which you can view on their YouTube channel.
The greatest threat to sharks is, of course, humans. Shark finning is popular across the globe, but particularly in Asian waters– where the market for shark fin soup is lucrative. I knew the documentary wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t highlight this environmental issue, but I wasn’t in a position to capture footage of shark finning myself.
That’s when I found Alex Hofford, an investigative wildlife reporter and actual environmental super hero. He provided our doc with incredible, compelling footage of shark finning, and together we collaborated on a web app that tracked airlines which allow the import of shark fins around the world.
After about 4 months of shooting, writing, editing, and a gazillion emails, we had a mini-doc on our hands. OCEARCH went on to take the Ocean Gold award at the Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival, as well as first place in the Appalachicola Riverfront Film Festival.
- Director, Editor: Shea Lord
- Producer: Courtney Roth
- Director of Photography: Leah March
- Thanks: Chris Fischer, the OCEARCH crew, and Alex Hofford