On Monday afternoon at the OMEGA House in London’s Soho district, Planet Ocean, a movie directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot in partnership with OMEGA, was screened for the first time in Great Britain. The 90-minute documentary, which also draws on the talents of some of the world’s leading aerial and underwater cinematographers, oceanographers and biologists, was created to change the way people look at the oceans and to encourage them to imagine conservation and stewardship as responsibilities shared by everyone on Earth.
Yann Arthus-Bertrand introduced the film to a capacity crowd at the OMEGA House and following the screening, took part in a discussion moderated by Zoey Bird. Stephen Urquhart, the President of OMEGA, talked about his brand’s long interest in underwater exploration and oceanic health and Arthus-Bertrand commended OMEGA’s commitment. He said, “It is a risk for a company to give money to an activist like me. But that’s what they did and not once did they ask to see what I was doing. They never told me what to do.”
OMEGA’s President Urquhart: “No one could do it better”
Stephen Urquhart said, “We offered this project to Yann because we knew that no one could do it better. He’s both an environmentalist and the world's leading specialist in aerial photography. He has a unique combination of skills that allowed him to capture and communicate the majesty and the beauty of the oceans cinematically. He, Michael and their team have done a remarkable job.”
The film’s composer Armand Amar, who was at the screening, was asked about his inspiration for the moving soundtrack. He said that he had been inspired by the film footage, pointing out that the powerful imagery suggested the types of themes that were called for.
Reaching the widest possible audience
When Arthus-Bertrand was asked if he thought that there was sufficient political will to address the global issue of oceanic health, he said that he hoped that Planet Ocean would raise public awareness, inspiring viewers to encourage politicians to consider legislation that would help protect the oceans. He announced that the film is being made available free of charge to interested schools and NGOs to ensure that it reaches the widest possible audience.
Explaining some great natural mysteries
Planet Ocean aims to explain some of the planet’s greatest natural mysteries in ways that make them understandable and accessible to everyone. Finally, it allows young people to imagine that a more sustainable world is not only desirable but achievable. The film combines the kind of breath-taking aerial shots that have made Arthus-Bertrand’s filmmaking reputation along with underwater imagery from an award-winning team of cameramen.
OMEGA’s maritime legacy
OMEGA has long been associated with the planet's oceans and concerned with their health and preservation. In 1932, it released the world's first divers' watch. By 1936, Dr. Charles William Beebe, the American naturalist and underwater explorer who was one of the inventors of the bathysphere, spoke enthusiastically about how well his OMEGA Marine had served him when he was working 14 metres beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean for extended periods of time.
Commander Yves Le Prieur, the father of the aqualung, was often photographed underwater wearing his own OMEGA Marine. Jacques-Yves Cousteau famously wore an OMEGA Ploprof and Jacques Mayol – the legendary free diver known as "The Dolphin Man" – wore an OMEGA Seamaster on his record-setting dives.
When the late Sir Peter Blake, OMEGA's friend and brand ambassador, retired from competition as one of the world's most successful competitive sailors, he committed his energies to the protection of his beloved oceans. Sir Peter was motivated by a simple motto: "No water, no life." He created his non-profit organisation, Blakexpeditions, under the auspices of the United Nations and OMEGA.
OMEGA President Stephen Urquhart said, “Peter Blake is an important part of this story. He was such a passionate advocate for oceanic health and his passion was infectious. We contacted Yann about making Planet Ocean ten years after Peter was murdered by pirates while spreading the word preserving the oceans. I know that he would have enjoyed this film immensely.”
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