World Premiere of Film on the Oceans and Climate Change at DC Environmental Film Festival

February 19, 2009

NEW YORK, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ — Imagine a world without fish. A new documentary on climate change and the oceans proposes just that. The film, A Sea Change, premieres at the DC Environmental Film Festival March 14. A Sea Change is the first documentary about ocean acidification, the underbelly of climate change, a little-known but potentially devastating threat to ocean life.

The screening takes place at 3:30 pm in Baird Auditorium, at the National Museum of Natural History, at the intersection of 10th Street and Constitution Ave., NW. Admission is free. Introducing the film is Dan Pingaro, Executive Director of Sailors for the Sea. Following the screening will be a panel discussion including director Barbara Ettinger, co-producer Sven Huseby, Dr. Richard Spinrad and Dr. Richard Feely of NOAA (the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration).

The Film’s Genesis & Story Line Sven Huseby, descendant of Norwegian fishmongers and life-long environmentalist, had never imagined the oceans were endangered by greenhouse gas until he read a New Yorker article on ocean acidification. That article, “The Darkening Sea” (Nov. 20, 2006, p. 66) changed his life. He discovered that the effects of climate change are not limited to global warming: they extend to the sea, where water chemistry is being changed by excess carbon dioxide, creating a profound threat to the food chain, starting with the tiny creatures at its bottom.

The next step? Huseby and his partner and wife, the award-winning director Barbara Ettinger, decided to create a feature-length documentary about ocean acidification. The film was completed after two years of production, thousands of miles of travel, and hundreds of hours of editing. The odyssey begins with a meeting with Elizabeth Kolbert, author of the article which catalyzed the film, and ends with a series of meetings with charismatic entrepreneurs whose daring innovations may help turn the tide on changing ocean chemistry. The meat of the film is conversations with scientists whose research is in the forefront of the race to understand ocean acidification.

Sven’s travels are interwoven with a tapestry of wilderness on land and beneath the ocean’s surface, making visible what is so often invisible. Followed by the camera of cinematographer Claudia Raschke-Robinson(Mad Hot Ballroom, My Architect), Sven travels to fishing villages in Alaska, conferences and laboratories, and to ancestral sites from the Copper River Delta to the barren glacial beaches of Svalbard, Norway. Raschke-Robinson’s lens shifts between stately, panoramic shots of scenic beauty to intimate, handheld verite in human interactions.

Huseby is the means by which the audience encounters the problem of ocean acidification and begins to understand the issue and its possible solutions. Driving his voyage is his concern for his five-year-old grandson Elias and what environment legacy he will inherit. The film’s spine and comic relief are the charming, intimate conversations and games between Huseby and Elias.

Many Voices & Experts Weigh in The tone of the film is unavoidably dark at times. Asked if we are “screwed,” Dr. Edward Miles from the University of Washington says, “Yes, to a considerable extent.” Kolbert herself mourns that she is leaving her son a degraded world. Yet there is hope, and Huseby, the documentary’s protagonist, finds it where he can, among the scientists, entrepreneurs, and visionaries, and in his moments with Elias.

Interviewees include: Dr. Richard Feely, NOAA and University of Washington; Dr. Edward Miles, University of Washington; Dr. Jeff Short, NOAA Juneau, AK; Dr. Ricki Ott, Cordova, AK; Dr. Ken Caldeira, Carnegie Institute of Global Ecology, Stanford University; Dr. Richard Bellerby, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway; Dr. Victoria Fabry, California State College, San Marcos, CA; Dr. Jan-Gunnar Winther, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsoe, Norway; Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker writer on environmental matters; Miyoko Sakashita, environmental lawyer with the Center for Biological Diversity, San Francisco, CA; Deborah Williams, President, Alaska Conservation Solutions and former Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior; Andrew Beebe, President, Energy Innovations; Borea Schau-Larsen, hotelier and owner of Solstrand Hotel in Os, Norway; Maya Lin, artist and architect.

Support for A Sea Change

A Sea Change is a magnificent synthesis of science and heart.”

Anne Alexander Rowley, Oceana’s Ocean Council

A Sea Change could not be more timely. I believe acidification of our oceans is actually a greater threat to our survival than is temperature or sea level rise, the conventional “global warming” threats. Acidification is confusing and difficult to even imagine for most people–we need your film.”

Rob Moir, Ocean River Institute

The Crew of A Sea Change

Director Ettinger’s first film Martha and Ethel screened at the Sundance Film Festival and was distributed theatrically by Sony Pictures Classics. Her most recent film, Two Square Miles, was co-produced with Huseby through their company Niijii Films, and aired nationally on PBS’s Independent Lens in November 2006 and again in January 2007.

Co-producing the project is Susan Cohn Rockefeller. She has directed, produced and written three award-winning environmental documentaries

Niijii Films raised more than $650,000 to produce the documentary. Key to the fundraising efforts was Sailors for the Sea, the movie’s fiscal sponsor. SfS is a non-profit organization founded by David Rockefeller, Jr., that educates and empowers the boating community to protect oceans and coastal waters.

For more information visit www.aseachange.net.

SOURCE Niijii Films, Inc.

Source: newswire

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