Antarctica on Film: Cityscape Talks to Peter Young, Director of The Last Ocean
What inspired you to make The Last Ocean? Is there a particular moment that cemented your decision?
When you travel down to the Ross Sea by boat it takes about eight days – three of which are busting through ice – it seemed absolutely ridiculous that we would go all that way to this most remote and pristine place on Earth to catch fish and sell them in upmarket restaurants in New York. In the process, we are destroying the natural balance in the world's last untouched ocean – where is the sense in that?
What change do you hope the film will bring about in people's perceptions?
Knowing that the oceans are not the infinite resource that many of us thought they were – that they need our attention and care – which means that these last remaining wild pieces of ocean should be protected and not exploited.
What was the biggest surprise for you in making the film?
That New Zealand – through a succession of Governments – was so gung-ho in exploiting the Ross Sea, destroying this natural treasure for such little gain.
What changed in your attitudes and beliefs as a result of this film?
The power of people – that democracy actually does work and that actions and belief are a potent force.
What was the biggest challenge you encountered and how did you overcome it?
Getting people from all over the world to care about a place that they are likely to never go to. I overcame that by showing them the pictures; it's true, they do paint a thousand words. Everyone who has the privilege of getting to the Ross Sea is touched in some way by the place.
What was the best moment in the making of The Last Ocean?
Seeing it on the big screen! Six years in the making, it is still a thrill to be sitting with people who are watching it for the first time.
How have audiences responded?
There has been overwhelming support. It has sold-out theatres in all the main centres. People are quite shocked by what's going on down there and by New Zealand's involvement – but also hopeful that we may be able to do something (as I am too).
What is next for you?
Take this story to the world through international films festivals and to grow the campaign and hopefully protect our last untouched ocean! As much of a cliché as it is – we do owe it to the next generation. I've got four kids and I want them to inherit places like the Ross Sea.
Check out The Last Oceans promotional clip.