Entering the big blue


Captivating short films about life and adventure in the big blue come to Queenstown next week.

The Ocean Film Festival world tour presents eight inspirational films about the aquatic world, at the Memorial Centre next Wednesday.

NZ tour organiser Mark Banham says: “The films come from everywhere - Hawaii, Australia, Norway, cave-diving in Latin America.

“There’s everything from scuba diving in board shorts in Hawaii to people pulling on as many layers of neoprene as they can to go surfing north of the Arctic circle.

“My favourite is one about a Norwegian boat builder, a really quirky story, but I’m a sucker for all of them.”

Banham has in previous years helped organise Australian tours of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, screened in Queenstown by the New Zealand Alpine Club.

“Some of the guys I worked with on those tours are keen surfers, stand-up paddle boarders, divers and the rest of it, as am I.

“They put together this ocean film festival and invited me to bring it around New Zealand, which I was super keen to do.”

The tour will take in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland – but Queenstown’s first.

“All my friends said I had to bring it here,” he says. “We’ve got the mountain on our doorstep but you can always leg it over to the West Coast or The Catlins.

“The thing with adventure film festivals is they’re a great source of inspiration on tap and it feeds on itself.

“eople go along and watch this sort of stuff and then head out on their own adventures with a Go-Pro, come back with more footage, and away you go.”

From every ticket sold, $1 goes to Paddle for Hope, improving quality of life for cancer survivors.

The festival runs from 6pm. Tickets are $24, concessions $18.