Port Stephens has been selected as part of a regional screening tour to show an independent film that charts the birth of the global movement to protect the sea.
Directors Danielle Ryan and James Sherwood said the aim of their film, called The Map to Paradise, was to challenge the narrative of hard-hitting environmental documentaries which often carried a 'doom and gloom' message and replace it with one of hope and courage.
"Rather than focusing on the ‘doom and gloom’ narrative, we’ve created a story focused on positive engagement of hearts and minds. It’s about changing the cultural narrative," Ms Ryan said.
"Countries around the world are currently looking to re-map, re-zone and re-write the rules on a global and local scale - an exciting new protection paradigm for nature in an age where humans are the primary cause of a massive loss of species.
"The solutions are there and they are proven to work, but we aren’t embracing them on a large enough scale. And we have to ask ‘Why?’."
The cast of the film includes renowned ocean figure-heads such as Prince Albert II of Monaco, President of Palau Tommy Remengesau, Sea Shepherd’s founder Captain Paul Watson, National Geographic explorer Enric Sala and other leading marine scientists.
Multi award-winning actor and activist Martin Sheen joined the team as executive producer after seeing the documentary in the 2019 Santa Barbara Film Festival line-up.
Ms Ryan and Mr Sherwood, who are Sydney-based, travelled the globe for three years on a shoe-string budget in search of "exceptional ocean conservation heroes" to tell The Map to Paradise story.
Their travels took them to Antarctica, the Phillipines, Palau, Australia, the United States and Europe.
"If you have ever dipped your head underwater in a marine sanctuary, in an area such as on the Great Barrier Reef, you will marvel at how much fish life there is inside the sanctuary compared to where there is no protection at all," Ms Ryan said.
“This makes the quest to protect the sea a beautiful subject to explore from the perspective of a documentary-maker, because at the end of the journey, there can be wondrous results - if we do it right.”
The film mixes land and underwater cinematography with colourful, character-driven stories and hand-rendered animation.
TheMap to Paradise will screen at Nelson Bay Cinema on Friday, March 22 from 7pm. Tickets, available from tickettailor.com, cost $25. Seating is limited.
Following the screening there will be a question and answer session with the directors.
The directors have invited Port Stephens divers, surfers and other marine-related people to attend the screening.
The Examiner has one double pass (two tickets) to give away to the Nelson Bay screening of The Map to Paradise.
To win this pass, send your name and contact number in an email titled "Paradise" to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be notified by 5pm on Monday, March 17.