My Octopus Teacher is a prominent feature this award season; with an Oscar nomination already on the cards, the documentary can now add a winning BAFTA title.
South Africa (12 April 2021) – Last month we shared the exciting news that the Proudly South African documentary ‘My Octopus Teacher’ was nominated for an Oscar. We can now also celebrate that the documentary has won a coveted British Academy Film Award (BAFTA).
The unexpected documentary about a man’s bond with an octopus entitled My Octopus Teacher captivated the world in 2020. The documentary was filmed in Cape Town and followed how a tiny octopus formed a bond with free-diver Craig Foster.
The feature documentary is a collaboration between the Sea Change Project, an NGO raising awareness of the beauty and ecological importance of South Africa’s kelp forest, Off the Fence Productions based in the Netherlands and Netflix. This is the first Netflix Original Documentary to come out of South Africa. Directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed and produced by Craig Foster, My Octopus Teacher is the culmination of a decade of hard work and dedication to showcasing The Great African Seaforest and the creatures that live in it.
The story is about Craig Foster, who is suffering from a loss of purpose, begins a daily diving regimen in the freezing kelp forests at the tip of Africa to re-energize himself. Foster is an award-winning filmmaker and co-founder of the Sea Change Project and has dedicated the past nine years to diving every day in the Atlantic Ocean without a wetsuit, documenting the process of how the human body adapts to cold and studying the kelp forest ecosystem.
What he discovers below the water’s surface is a totally alien motivation in the form of an unusually curious octopus. This beautiful record of an animal’s entire life—something seldom achieved in the wild, let alone underwater—was shot over a full year and explores the habits and personality of a strange, undulating creature that most of us have only ever eaten.