Ocean Film Festival to host Burnie debut of Stefan Andrews’ documentary Swimming With Gentle Giants | The Advocate

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news, local-news, scott portelli, stefan andrews, swimming with gentle giants, ocean film festival, burnie metro cinema, humpback whales, tonga

Some of the earth’s largest animals will be taken from the waters of Tonga to the cinema screen in Burnie on February 26. As part of the international Ocean Film Festival World Tour, Stefan Andrews’ documentary feature Swimming With Gentle Giants will screen at the Metro Cinemas for one night only. The documentary follows photographer Scott Portelli as he dives with humpback whales and documents the journey of mothers as they give birth and the first weeks of their baby’s lives as they prepare for a 7000km journey to Antarctica. Mr Portelli said he was surprised by the curiosity and fearlessness of the young humpbacks he came across. “They will try to put a pectoral fin out to touch you and see what you’re like,” he said. “Then they will run back to mum like they’ve done something bad. Like, oh, I’ve touched the human.” He hopes the documentary will educate viewers not only about the behaviour of humpback whales, but also how humans nearly drove them to extinction. “There were between 100,000 to 200,000 whales that used to travel up Australia’s coast, and now the numbers are believed to be closer to 10,000. “It’s something that I can show the world, and hopefully they feel connected with the ocean and these animals to act in a positive way.” For more information and ticketing visit the Ocean Film Festival website.

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