It’s been a busy summer for Okeanos Foundation for the Sea. Not only did Okeanos Foundation deliver two new vessels to Pacific communities in need of their own form of sustainable sea transportation, with the vaka motu Okeanos Marshall Islands and SoelYacht’s all-solar catamaran the Okeanos Pearl, but our film team has been working tirelessly on the production of our upcoming full-length documentary, The Starchasers.
The Starchasers follows the harrowing missions of modern-day Pacific voyagers that have ushered a renaissance in traditional navigation over the last ten years. In 2011-2012, hundreds of first time sailors embarked on the Te Mana o Te Moana voyage as a fleet of seven Okeanos-built vaka moanas traversed the Pacific twice. In parallel, Hokule’a’s Malama Honua voyage returned from a three year sail around the world this summer, escorted by Okeanos canoes including the vaka motu Okeanos Marshall Islands.
This past June, film crews joined Okeanos Marshall Islands’s historic escort of Hokule’a during her last leg of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. Okeanos US & Pacific Region director Dena Seidel, Okeanos Chairman Dieter Paulmann and veteran cinematographer and Oahu-local Paul Atkins had the honor of sailing on Hokule’a beside Polynesian Voyaging Society President Nainoa Thompson from Molokai to Oahu, days before Hokule’a’s momentous arrival into Magic Island.
Amidst the emotions of returning home after a three-year worldwide voyage, Nainoa addressed the significance of The Starchasers film and its importance in carrying the message of Malama Honua, to care for our island earth, long after the voyage is complete.
“Our message cannot be global if we don’t take the risk of opening ourselves and sharing our values,” Nainoa urged to an assembly of captains and navigators in preparation for their final sail to Oahu. “80 million viewers will see a film and all the education that spins from that is immeasurable. It’s the other canoe. It carries the voyage.”
After Hokule’a’s momentous arrival to Magic Island, our film team joined Okeanos Marshall Islands for its second milestone this summer – its delivery to Majuro to meet the community’s needs for sustainable sea transportation in the face of sea level rise. New Zealand cinematographer Simon Baumfield (who has been filming Okeanos’ work since 2009) and Jess Charlton collaborated with Marshallese camera operators Chris Sebastian and Danny Tawoj to capture Okeanos Marshall Islands’ beautiful arrival ceremony into Majuro.
Along with Director Dena Seidel, the crew spent a week documenting the canoe’s various sails with University of the South Pacific students and young trainees of Waan Aelõñ in Majel (Canoes of the Marshall Islands).
As the production of The Starchasers winds down, the Okeanos US editors continue to shape the 1,000+ hours of footage involved in creating this film. Luckily for editors Steve Holloway and Gabriela Figueredo, two Rutgers University interns are onboard as assistant editors. Crystal Nunoo and Mackenzie Pitt have both spent a year supporting the staff in shaping The Starchasers film.
“Working at Okeanos has been an invaluable learning experience. Most of all, I love that the work we do has a meaningful and direct impact in the lives of Pacific Islanders,” said Pitt, a senior graduating in Journalism and Environmental Policy.
“I’ve become a better a filmmaker and storyteller from being a part of the Okeanos Foundation team,” said 2017 Journalism and Media Studies graduate Crystal Nunoo. “Every ripple we start has the ability to make waves.”
After the success of our Emmy-nominated film Racing Extinction, Okeanos Foundation is proud to continue advancing public environmental awareness through The Starchasers. The full-length documentary is expected to be released in fall of 2018.