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With the bays of Port Phillip and Western Port on either side and Bass Strait to the south, it’s little wonder the ocean plays such a major part in the lives of those of us on the Mornington Peninsula. It’s fitting, then, that the Ocean Film Festival should make its way to our neck of the woods this month during the Australian leg of its 2020 world tour.

“Some of our strongest support comes from regional towns like Broome, Warrnambool, Cairns and Albany,” says Townsville-born festival director Jemima Robinson. “But it is not just coastal towns that love the ocean. We have amazing support in places like Alice Springs and Launceston.”

The Ocean Film Festival was founded seven years ago on the northern beaches of Sydney. It gives a spotlight to the world’s best independent filmmakers who celebrate the beauty and power of the ocean, and immortalises the divers, surfers and oceanographers who live for the sea’s salt spray, chase the crests of waves, and marvel at the mysteries of the deep blue.

The festival’s global popularity is soaring, the selection process competitive, but that hasn’t stopped two exceptional Australians from being named finalists this year. “When the Ocean Film Festival started, most of the entries received were from the US,” Jemima says. “We really wanted to showcase more of Australia’s natural marine environment and the work of Australian filmmakers. The Ocean Film Festival has given Aussie filmmakers and ocean-lovers the forum to have their work seen on the big screen.”

In A Corner of the Earth, Sydney filmmaker Spencer Frost follows aspiring professional surfer and Sydneysider Fraser Dovel as he makes the head-spinning transition from competitive surfing in warm, inviting breaks to the icy, treacherous waters of the Arctic in search of the adventure of a lifetime. Sometimes humorous, always breathtaking, Fraser comes to grips with living and surfing in sub-zero temperatures, finding a new appreciation for what it means to be a surfer.

Swimming With Gentle Giants, by Adelaide filmmaker Stefan Andrews, dives underwater with award-winning wildlife photographer and filmmaker Scott Portelli. Scott’s close connection with the humpback whales he has been documenting for two decades provides a breathtaking, up-close-and-personal experience with the biggest animals on Earth that must be seen to be believed.

The Ocean Film Festival World Tour screens at Peninsula Cinemas Rosebud, Rosebud Pde, on Saturday, March 28, from 7-10pm. Tickets:

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