Director: Karina Holden

Rating:  5/5

Blue is a documentary that was created to advocate for the world’s oceans and was screened at the 2017 Planet in Focus Film Festival. Most people are aware, at least in part, of the negative effects human beings are having on the ocean’s inhabitants. The fish we eat are in decline and the fishing industry is engendering other species, sharks are being devastated by the soup fin industry, and the ocean life is being choked by pollution, particularly from plastic. The documentary delves deeper into these issues and displays the graphic consequences of the modern lifestyle.

Madison Stewart is an Ocean Guardian fighting to protect sharks. She visits a coastal village in Indonesia that is sustained by shark fishing. The villagers do not traditionally eat shark. The sharks are killed for their fins, which are sold and exported overseas, and the rest of the shark is dumped into the ocean or ground up for animal feed. The business funding the village, however, is also destroying it. The fishermen are starting to find fewer sharks and have started fishing illegally within the Australian border. The fishermen are also dependent on eating other fish species, which are at risk of declining when the top predator is removed.

Mark Dia is an Ocean Guardian who has been fighting to protect fish population in the Philippines for over two decades. Blue fish tuna are a popular species that is in decline because of overfishing. As Mark explores the fish market in his home country, he repeatedly finds the carcass of tuna and other endangered species, both adults and juvenile. Without regulation, another specie will be lost and poor community will be left with nothing to feed themselves.

Tim Silverwood is an Ocean Guardian fighting to clean up the ocean and coastline. For too long people have underestimated the vastness of the ocean, continuously using it as the world’s trash can. The increase in consumption and use of plastic in the past 50 years has led to a drastic increase in debris. This garbage is collecting in the pacific and ending up on formally pristine beaches. The documentary follows Tim and other volunteers as they attempt to clean a Hawaiian beach that is flooded by never ending waves of garbage.

Philip Mango is an Ocean Guardian who is also on shore and garbage duty. He is part of a group that patrols the Australian coastline cleaning up garbage and  “Ghost” nets. The nets are cast off by fisherman illegally fishing off the Australian coast. The Ghost nets are not indiscriminate, though, and the nets become death traps for many turtles and other marine animals.

Dr. Jennifer Lavers is an Ocean Guardian rescuing birds in the Pacific. Plastic is in everything we use ( cars, cups, clothes) and it’s made to last. When it ends up in the ocean, it doesn’t decompose, it just breaks apart into smaller and smaller pieces that are consumed by animals, such as sea birds. A hundred percent of the sea birds, including their chicks, that Dr. Lavers studies have ingested plastic. This plastic, which can be small enough for plankton to eat, is also eventually making its way into our food and bodies.

Lucas Handley is an Ocean Guardian fighting to prevent the ocean’s habitat loss. As a diver living in Australia, he has a front row seat to the barrier reef’s gradual destruction. Global warming has caused the coral reefs to start bleaching and 27% of the world’s reefs have been lost so far. If we lose the barrier reef, we lose shelter for the coast line and a quarter of the world’s sea life.

Blue is a beautiful and powerful cinematic love letter to the ocean. Although it focuses on the Pacific Ocean, the documentary clearly shows the world’s impact on this region and the impact of its destruction on the world. The film is as visually pleasing as it is disturbing. In the end, it’s a call to action to be become ocean warriors before it is too late.


Director Karina Holden is an Australian born Conservation Biologist who has made several documentaries. She is committed to educating people about marine conservation and has created curriculum that correlates to the information in her documentary Blue. This curriculum will be circulated in Australian schools and is available on the documentary website for everyone to use.




Esther S.

Instagram: @estherscene

Twitter: @estherscreen

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