Charlestonians seeking a reprieve from the heat might look to Sunday, June 9, when the International Ocean Film Tour comes to the Charleston Music Hall.
The series of six short documentary films examines ocean life, adventure and environmentalism.
“It’s applicable for Charlestonians in that a lot of us are actively engaging with the oceans on a daily, weekly or monthly basis,” says Music Hall Director Charles Carmody.
The event starts at 7 p.m. with the jaw-dropping 8-minute short, “Surfer Dan,” which follows Michigan-born thrill-seeker Dan Schetter as he attempts to surf the frosty waves of Lake Superior in the dead of winter.
Following Schetter’s death-defying exploits is “Julie,” director Stefanie Brockhaus’ 15-minute profile of underwater filmmaker and dancer Julie Gautier.
“Chasing the Thunder” is the third film and, at 45 minutes, the longest. Its source material is the six-part mini-series “Ocean Warriors.” The film examines the problem of illegal fishing during a 110-day search for the world’s most notorious outlaw ship.
“The ocean is not too big to fail,” says Mark Benjamin, co-director of the film. “The meta-story is that the ocean is being vacuumed of all the fish … by an illegal fishing industry that is not sustainable.”
“Chasing the Thunder” weighs the impact of human practices on marine life. And the next film in the series celebrates the beauty of untouched ocean habitats.
“700 Sharks” is a 20-minute short that uses stunning virtual-reality photography to capture the world’s largest school of grey sharks for the first time on camera. The expedition of marine biologist Laurent Batista offers a rare look at life along the coral belt.
Following “700 Sharks” is “Andy Irons: Kissed by God,” a sobering look at the life of a surfing legend. The 30-minute film explores the dark side of Irons’ career, including untold stories about his battle with opioid addiction and bipolar disorder. Using archival footage and interviews with Irons’ family, directors Todd Jones and Steve Jones offer an honest portrait of a surfing hero.
The series ends with “Blown Away,” an uplifting story of two friends sailing from Sydney to Berlin and enjoying the music of of the communities they encounter on their journey. The two friends bridge cultural gaps to a stellar soundtrack.
While “Andy Irons” and “Chasing the Thunder” have found their way into theaters and onto television, the other short films in the International Ocean Film Tour are not easily viewed. This is your chance.
“Short films are hard to market,” Carmody says. “They don’t get regular runs in theaters, but they’re still very important and they still tell amazing stories. The Ocean Film Tour allows these films to have life.”
The International Ocean Film Tour will make its way to 18 U.S. cities this summer and to 11 countries across Europe and Asia.