Review: Ocean Film Festival 2015 | The Arts Centre Gold Coast

With summer drawing to its sad and inevitable conclusion and colder seasons beginning to loom, I found myself warmed to the very center of my being as I spent an exceptional evening celebrating what I enjoy most of all on the Gold Coast… The ocean.

In its second year running, Ocean Film Festival has graced our shores with a spectacular collage of short films spanning the globe in all its watery glory.

I was truly inspired to see how united we are as a human race, exploring all the wonderments the salty sea has to offer, in all its crazy conditions!

The night began with a tale of four mad watermen exploring the Arctic Circle with nothing more than 7mm wetsuits and a waterproof camera. How could I possibly complain about our warm Aussie winter when these guys are out shredding eight foot frozen frothers!

Fortunately the night grew a little warmer from there on in, with a couple of short films featured right here on the sunny Australian coast.

Whether it was Mark Matthews dropping 20-foot monsters at Shipsterns, or his fearless 17-year-old underling, Russell Bierke stalling deep into cavernous barrels at The Right, we as an audience were entranced. Nothing simulates the enormity of that kind of surf quite like watching it in a giant theatre packed with heart pounding spectators!

One particular highlight was the inspirational story of Gold Coast surfer & skater, Quincy “The Flying Squirrel” Symonds, who at the ripe old age of six is dropping bombs and grinding rails most could only dream of.

Battling medical conditions that would stop almost anybody in their tracks, Quincy is a little Aussie battler determined to make it big on the world stage. With legendary support from Mum and Dad in tow, there is nothing stopping this little 4-foot dynamo from casting giant shadows far greater than her height suggests. Go get ‘em Quincy!

The longest short film, Devocean featured South African born, Bruno, a patron of last years Ocean Film Festival. After attending the screening, Bruno became inspired to tell his emotionally charged tale of survival and the human condition to never give up.

Once a wild surfer and seaworthy ship captain, Bruno’s world came brutally crashing down the night he was violently carjacked. The incident left him paraplegic, with no will to live, since his beloved ocean was completely out of his depth… Or so he thought.

“You either have to find your humour, or find your passion.” Bruno wisely stated. His story challenged me to look at life from a completely different angle, no longer making assumptions about people just because they’re a little different. He is an inspiration to all, and epitomizes the very spirit of what Ocean Film Festival is all about.

With far too many films to list, the night wrapped up almost directly where it started – in Nordland, just south of the frozen Arctic Circle.

The aptly titled The Fox of Bloody Woman Island was the perfect touch of frosting on a delectable evening of movie morsels. As bizarre as the title suggests, we weren’t disappointed when introduced to Ulf, a Nordic Viking of sorts, who makes his humble living building traditional timber boats by hand, using old traditional methods. Ulf’s love of the sea and eccentric way of living sincerely encapsulated the human heart and what it means to be a steward of our watery planet.

No matter how great the distance, or varied the culture, there will always be one thing connecting mankind as a global community – the ocean.


Be sure to keep an eye out for Ocean Film Festival 2016 when it comes surging into town next year. Truly an unforgettable evening not to be missed!

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