Blue Cinema Week in South Africa

Governance and Human Rights

From 6 to 10 December 2021, French embassies and cultural agencies involved in the Indian Ocean Blue Year Project (2021-2022) organized movie screenings featuring the oceans. The main objective of this campaign was to raise public awareness on the challenges and opportunities of the blue economy, and the preservation of marine ecosystems.

In South Africa, Oceans and the Blue Economy are very important, and are amongst France’s cooperation priorities, with programmes in science, innovation, civil society and culture.

The French Alliances and schools in South Africa were mobilized for this Blue Cinema Week. Most of the events were held in Cape Town and co-organized by the Alliance Française du Cap, the Lycée Français du Cap, the Iziko National Museums and the Two Oceans Aquarium. The programme  included film screenings, panel discussions with representatives of WWF, African Climate Alliance and Plastics SA, as well as awareness raising activities (visit to the Natural History Museum, classes at the aquarium and beach clean-ups). The goal was to involve the youth and give them the opportunity to learn more about the oceans and the blue economy. The events organized with the science communication teams of Iziko Museum were well-attended by over 300 learners from 6 schools local primary and secondary schools, including high school classes that participate in a pilot marine science specialization programme.

20211208 Docu Screening Iziko Museum

Documentary screening at Iziko Museums of South Africa, December 2021

The film selection included international as well as local productions.  The films were screened both in English and in French, for classes of French language learners. A South African multi international awards winning short film – Rise from the Flats (2021) – directed and produced by Shamier Magmoet,  from the Cape Flats, Cape Town, was also part of the programme. This short film provided a local focus that was particularly relevant to discuss the complex societal issues related to the topic in the Cape Town context with the youth.

In Port Elizabeth, the film Planet Ocean by Yann Arthus Bertrand was screened, followed by a discussion with Lloyd Edwards, founder of the company Raggy Charters, which offers tourist excursions to meet marine animals in Algoa Bay (whales, dolphins, sharks among others). He presented his activities and how the company offsets the emissions it produces on each trip (notably through tree planting). He testified about the wealth of the bay, its fauna, the variety of its landscapes which make it an unique place in the world. He also evoked the importance of sensitizing the public, to show the authorities the need to protect this space. Mention was made of the devastating seismic drilling off the coast by the company Shell.

Due to the deteriorating sanitary situation, many events were postponed until early 2022. The French high schools in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria as well as the Alliance Française in Johannesburg will organize other events in the coming months.

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