• Grey Gowder

Sea Change - An Adventure for the Future

For generations, coastal and island peoples’ lives and identities have been tied to the seas. As the oceans transform due to climate change and globalization, so do these communities’ relationship to their surrounding waters. With rising sea levels, increasingly severe weather patterns, diminishing maritime ecosystems, and exhaustive global exploitation of dwindling resources these communities are faced with a crisis of identity where they must adapt to a changing world or disappear with their homelands beneath the waves. Many are turning to restorative design by rebuilding and repairing the natural systems surrounding their communities. From restoring mangrove forests to coastal wetlands, to clearing their waters of plastic pollution, and planting new coral reefs, local communities are partnering with international organizations to rebuild the natural world on a global scale.

Charleston-based duo Tripp Brower and Zach Bjur seek to learn how island and coastal communities are dealing with the effects of climate change in order to address those problems they are seeing at home, and to share what they learned with the world to empower individuals and communities to take action to protect and rebuild the natural world. This film will tell their story to inspire action, offer strategies for success, and encourage local and international investment in the power of natural systems to repair our world.

The film will chronologically track Tripp and Zach’s progress around the world while showing them evolve in their understanding of the world and as individuals. Two years is a long time to spend together, especially on something as small as a forty-foot sailboat. There will be weeks in the Pacific, Indian Ocean, and South Atlantic where it will just be the two of them with nothing but ocean for miles around. This will be valuable time for them to process what they have seen and what they are learning about climate change, the world, the individuals that they meet along the way, and themselves.

As the film progresses, the scale of the efforts we will explore will grow with our subjects’ understanding of them. We will first begin with localized efforts like mangrove restoration then to the gardening and restoration of coral to rebuild the reefs of the world. We will get a glimpse of home when we explore the restoration of shellfish reefs, something that Zach worked on back in Charleston. From there, things get exponentially bigger. From the Great Barrier Reef to Seychelles’s Marine Reserves, the scale of conservation and restorative design grows as both the problems and the solutions become more global and our perspective becomes more unified through a growing empathetic reality that we are all human beings experiencing the same existential questions when it comes to climate change. By addressing problems on a local level, we can begin to address them globally if enough people begin solving the issues that in their backyards but truly global change will need to come from a transformed mindset of a global community where “local” also means “global”. This interconnected also comes from education and outreach so that thematic element will also grow as the film progresses and as Tripp and Zach develop their voices and perspectives as storytellers and as educators. This could also be where the filmmakers reveal themselves from behind the camera as they, too, take part in this outreach near the end of the film.

SEA CHANGE will be a highly ambitious and commercial documentary. We have a unique opportunity in the way this film can be made by hybridizing the authentic intimacy of Maiden Trip with the thematic relationship of separate conservation efforts through Rancher Farmer Fisherman, and the cinematic environmental epicness of Chasing Coral. We plan to achieve this by taking advantage of this film’s greatest logistical challenge, its scope.

This is truly a global film. This will work greatly to our advantage by allowing us to show a rich and deeply human story that shows the global scale of the problem and the global scale of the solution. This will be reflected in the personal content captured by Tripp and Zach on their own and the epic cinematography captured by a film crew at key locations along their route. The diverse imagery will be enhanced by a rich soundscape and music that reflect the film’s epic scale.

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