Top documentary film-maker talks at U3A

Craig Foster

U3A Helderberg will be 15 years old this year, and to celebrate this occasion, their guest speaker will be Craig Foster, who is widely regarded as South Africa’s top documentary film-maker, on Wednesday March 7, at the Strand Town Hall.

Craig recently had the privilege of living with a wild octopus for a year, visiting and tracking her through the kelp forest for over 300 days.

Craig says she taught him more than any of his incredible indigenous masters or professors of philosophy and marine biology.

From her he learned the secrets of the underwater seaforest, discovered over 40 new animal behaviours unknown to science, described new marine species, and completely upgraded his whole health and immune system by diving in the freezing water that the octopus lived in without a wetsuit for hours.

The story he will tell and show his audience in pictures and film, will give a deep insight into the world of a wild octopus, and all the incredible creatures she interacted with. It will show detailed scenes of her predators and her prey, as well as the early humans who’ve lived on this coast for hundreds of thousands of years alongside the octopus.

His presentation will also highlight critical conservation issues surrounding our coast, and Craig’s efforts to persuade government to be more careful with our marine resources.

My Octopus Teacher, the title of Craig’s presentation and his documentary, is an extraordinary story, and a very rare phenomenon in the marine world.

The female octopus called “Superstar”, recently appeared on BBC Blue Planet 2, narrated by David Attenborough, and also on South Africa’s Carte Blanche with John Webb.

Beside being an award-winning film-maker, Craig is also the founder of the Sea-Change Project, an organisation dedicated to learning about and protecting Southern Africa’s marine wilderness through innovative story-

He has dedicated the past seven years to immersing himself in the kelp forest environment on a daily basis. Prior to this, he spent 25 years making documentary films with his brother Damon.

They have more than 50 international awards for their work including WWF’s Golden Panda, the “Oscar” of natural history filmmaking. His current film project on kelp forests and conservation is estimated to reach a global audience of one billion people.

Doors open at 9.30am with tea, and the talk starts at 10am. Visitors are welcome, at R50.