Now an octopus joins their ranks, thanks to a new Netflix documentary – My Octopus Teacher. The best of the west: Nothing compares with an autumn road... Russia's answer to Machu Picchu! He said: ‘Octopuses spend most of their time in their den, because that’s the safest place. The documentary seeks to evoke empathy by telling a story about the bond between a human and a wild octopus off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa. Then you realise that she trusts a human and she’s prepared to come out and go about her hunting and daily activity – and that’s a huge moment, because The Great African Sea Forest is just teeming with predators. Burnt out film maker Craig Foster … Southern Africa's kelp forest [is a] wonderland of abundance and biodiversity [that's] home to many creatures that are found nowhere else on earth. The... Can't face the uncertainty of going abroad? The Octopus is long gone—octopuses rarely survive more than 18 months in the wild—but her co-star … He continued: ‘I decided to dive every day, not only to know her but to know the environment, to immerse myself in it and teach myself [underwater] tracking to the highest level I possibly could. And we then join him at the beginning of his friendship journey with an animal that he discovers day by day is truly remarkable. Then the octopus darted away - and Craig was mesmerised. The documentary seeks to evoke empathy by telling a story about the bond between a human and a wild octopus off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa. And we are totally reliant on the natural system for every single breath we take, for every mouthful of food we put in our stomachs. 'I didn’t name her because I didn't want to make her into a curiosity or a pet. He documents their unlikely friendship in 'My Octopus Teacher,' now on … Filming was part of my learning process. That’s the danger – the big powerful ocean. When they scan us, humans don’t come up as a prey item. [5] [6] The movie is about his experience diving in the kelp forests at a remote location in False Bay , near Cape Town in the Western Cape of South Africa, [7] every day for a year. 'It was a big moment for me – not least because I opted for no wetsuit as Craig does – but because I had been following Craig's career for 20 years prior, from when he and his brother Damon spent three years living in the central Kalahari of Botswana filming the award-winning 'The Great Dance', a documentary about the role of hunting in Bushmen psyche and society. The oldest science on earth was created in Africa over 100,000 years ago. She even displays what may be the first recorded case of play behaviour in wild cephalopods. But in real terms they’re the least of your worries. If the natural system suffers, we suffer. If you click “Agree and Continue” below, you acknowledge that your cookie choices in those tools will be respected and that you otherwise agree to the use of cookies on NPR’s sites. And then she’d often reach out to make contact. Mr Miyagi from The Karate Kid, Professor Keating from Dead Poets Society, Dumbledore… there have been many great on-screen teachers. Craig Foster, welcome to FRESH AIR. These fascinating, life changing experiences have been documented by South Africans Craig Foster and Ross Frylinck in a newly released book entitled Sea Change - Primal Joy … Her onetime den lies a couple of dozen feet off the coast of Cape Town suburb Simon’s Town. ‘When an animal knows you as an individual, knows you just like your cat or dog knows you and then trusts you because you’ve been there so many times… it’s a huge moment that will always stay as one of my great memories.’. He had lost his passion for working on documentaries such as “Blue Planet 2.” Deborah Calmeyer, founder and CEO of luxury holiday firm Roar Africa, swum with Craig in the kelp forests that My Octopus Teacher was filmed in and wrote in a blog about the experience that it was a 'big moment'. It’s a very rare and mysterious occurrence when somebody gets bitten by a shark.’, Craig said: 'We as human beings are completely part of nature, we are designed and made wild'. Driving to the dive site by car is far more dangerous. ‘She taught me “octopus language”. Craig first spotted the unusually curious octopus, pictured, in a calm 200-metre section of kelp forest – an ‘incredible place’ – holding on to multiple shells in a bid to protect itself from an unseen predator, Motorist refuses to reverse for driver and gets throttled, 3D map details the milky way using Gaia space observatory data, AJ Pritchard jokes about tension with Shane Ritchie on I'm A Celeb, Sasha Obama sings along to x-rated song on TikTok, Abandoned Golden Retriever is discovered and adopted by woman, Heated debate sparked over how to pronounce cappuccino, Widow leaves the house for the first time in three months, Wildlife Services save giraffe stranded on flooded island, Amazon launches free maths and coding resources for kids, Harry Kane is looking forward to having fans back in stadiums, Dog enjoys burying his face in the snow while frolicking on a field. These animals are very, very wary. Craig said: ‘What was incredible was to realise “oh my goodness, this animal is the ultimate teacher for me”. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. She used her body to communicate how she’s feeling, and how she used her body to communicate to predators to confuse them – you see some of that in the film. The Octopus is long gone—octopuses rarely survive more than 18 months in the wild—but her co-star and “student,” filmmaker Craig Foster, still visits her former home in daily dives that are as much about pilgrimage as they are about science. CRAIG FOSTER: Thank you, Sam. Underwater Inspiration Off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, the water holds an incredible love story between a man and an octopus. Human kind literally begun in South Africa and Craig says that it is on the shores of South Africa that we became humans in the mind. ‘They have a whole body language and a skin language – you can tell how they’re feeling. During his 8-year break from filmmaking, Craig Foster has spent most of his time immersed in the unusual marine wilderness that hides beneath the waters of Cape Town. 'We as human beings are completely part of nature, we are designed and made wild. Brothers Craig and Damon Foster are widely regarded as South Africa’s top documentary filmmakers. She says: 'My Octopus Teacher has to be seen to be believed. ‘The danger you come up against, in fact, is diving through caves repeatedly, enormous waves crashing over rocks… if you hit your head and get knocked unconscious, that’s it. This ball of shells was such a strange sight that even nearby fish seemed bewildered by it. It’s a fascinating, beautifully scored – and at times deeply moving – account of how filmmaker Craig Foster formed a bond during daily swims with an octopus living in a kelp forest off the ‘Cape of Storms’ in South Africa. One octopus began coming out of her den to hunt or explore while Foster … ... Cape Town To Jozi For Under R750: You Have Until The End Of The Day To Book A Kulula / BA Special 'Saving The World Through The Wall Of Water' is a Tom Foster TEDx Talk. Stay in Will Smith's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air kingdom! ‘But what is a real danger is the Cape of Storms [also known as the Cape of Good Hope] – it’s one of the wildest most powerful ocean areas on our planet. In her case – avoid animals.’. Moving in a way that you don’t create pressure waves. You can adjust your cookie choices in those tools at any time. That allows you to get close to other animals and not disturb them. Her onetime den lies a couple of dozen feet off the coast of Cape Town suburb Simon’s Town. They spend 80 to 90 per cent of their time there. Synopsis. To buy Craig Foster's book, Sea Change, which showcases his work and reveals the art of underwater tracking, visit seachangeproject.com/buy-book/. And what does Craig hope viewers will learn from the documentary? We’re made of the same stuff. African on the Cape Town coast were the first people to make art. ‘They – and other sharks - are the least of your worries,’ he explained. During storms, Foster remembered that the ocean would “smash the doors down and fill up the bottom of the house.” WHERE IS FALSE BAY? ‘And then only much later when extraordinary things started to unfold [did the documentary take shape]… and you must realise that when you’re going in every day, I’m seeing many other species as well and having incredible encounters, with otters, with extraordinary exotic fish.’, The kelp forest is home to many types of shark, including great whites, but Craig, pictured here during filming, said that the drive to the coast is a bigger danger than apex marine predators, Mistress of disguise: The octopus displays incredible shape-shifting abilities - her skin able to blend into any environment and even produce little horns, Mollusc mentor: Craig explained that he didn't name the octopus as he didn't want her to become a curiosity or a pet - that she stood as a 'real teacher'. And how by reading the tracks of animals, hunters were drawn into an intimate relationship with the animal they were hunting. Foster was the subject, producer, and photographer of a 2020 Netflix Original documentary film called My Octopus Teacher, directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed. My Octopus Teacher tells the moving story of how Craig Foster came to know an octopus – and the emotional bond that formed when he did Thu 24 … Needing a reset, he returned to the underwater kelp forests off the southwest tip of Cape Town. I’ve dived with five white sharks in open water and none of them threatened me at all. And then they go out on their forays. To learn more about the work of the Sea Change Project - 'a community of scientists, storytellers, journalists and filmmakers who are dedicated to the ocean' - visit, stories.seachangeproject.com/my-octopus-teacher, To buy Craig Foster's book, Sea Change, which showcases his work and reveals the art of underwater tracking, visit, My Octopus Teacher | Netflix Official Site, My Octopus Teacher | Official Trailer | Netflix - YouTube. The comments below have not been moderated. This information is shared with social media, sponsorship, analytics, and other vendors or service providers. Cape Town - Netflix’s first original South African documentary My Octopus Teacher hopes to inspire local and international interest in the Great African Sea … By Ted Thornhill, Mailonline Travel Editor, Published: 09:09 GMT, 15 September 2020 | Updated: 10:31 GMT, 15 September 2020. How she uses tools to defend herself against attack and 'walks' - bipedally, tripedally, and quadrupedally - to navigate the seafloor. NPR’s sites use cookies, similar tracking and storage technologies, and information about the device you use to access our sites (together, “cookies”) to enhance your viewing, listening and user experience, personalize content, personalize messages from NPR’s sponsors, provide social media features, and analyze NPR’s traffic. False Bay is a body of water off of Cape Town… I would go home every day and watch the material and draw maps – the camera was used as a tool to understand the environment and to really embed myself in this wild place. He said: ‘Mostly, what I hope the viewers will get out of it... she taught me that we are inseparable from nature. The film shows how, in 2010, Foster began free-diving in a cold underwater kelp forest at a remote location in False Bay, near Cape Town, South Africa. One octopus began coming out of her den to hunt or explore while Foster watched. ‘The big predators are surprisingly wary of humans. New Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher is an extraordinary account of a never-before-seen bond between filmmaker Craig Foster and a common octopus. The trailer for the documentary, which won Best Feature at the 2020 EarthxFilm Festival, can be seen here, The film is a collaboration between the Sea Change Project, Off the Fence Productions based in the Netherlands and Netflix. Needing a reset, he … After dozens of encounters with the unnamed octopus, the teacher-student relationship crystalised. Craig, who lives in Cape Town, described to MailOnline Travel the moment when he realised that the octopus was showing signs of friendship. This is a behind-the-scenes image, taken in the kelp forest. Through his work Foster hopes to raise awareness of what he calls the "great African sea forest" — which spans from Cape Town up the coast to Namibia. 'About 10 months ago I had the great fortune of not only meeting Craig for his work with seachangeproject.com, but going swimming with him in these very kelp forests. Turning to a life-long passion for snorkelling in the kelp forest in Cape Town near Camps Bay; he develops a relationship with an octopus. He first spotted the unusually curious octopus in a calm 200-metre section of kelp forest – an ‘incredible place’ – holding on to multiple shells in a bid to protect itself from an unseen predator. I have dived on a number of occasions with white sharks. This particular kelp forest … ‘There wasn’t an initial intention to make a film at all. This picture of Craig with the octopus was taken by his son, Tom, Viewers will see the octopus star of My Octopus Teacher (pictured) exhibiting behaviour never recorded by science or on film. Some of the art from the area is the oldest on the earth. “Craig Foster, suffering from a loss of purpose, begins a daily diving regimen in the freezing kelp forests at the tip of Africa in order to re-energize himself. My Octopus Teacher, a feature documentary, by Craig Foster, Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed, follows the story of Craig’s year with a wild octopus. She stands as a real teacher and I’m proud of her. ‘She would have a normal colour and she would just come out and approach me. To learn more about the work of the Sea Change Project - 'a community of scientists, storytellers, journalists and filmmakers who are dedicated to the ocean' - visit stories.seachangeproject.com/my-octopus-teacher. (Netflix) A few years ago, South African documentary filmmaker Craig Foster felt burnt out from years of working on arduous nature films. He started to document his experiences and, in time, met a curious young octopus that captured his attention. He tracked the octopus to its den and says on the documentary – shot over a full year - that he feels there is something to learn from this creature. The story is about Craig Foster, who suffering from a loss of purpose, begins a daily diving regimen in the freezing kelp forests at the tip of Africa in order to re-energize himself. It was very, very clear.’, Craig dived to the kelp forest partly to 'teach himself underwater tracking to the highest level possible'. The documentary seeks to evoke empathy by telling a story about the bond between a human and a wild octopus off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa. The stars of the new Netflix documentary, My Octopus Teacher, are Craig Foster, a film maker, and a small boneless creature, Octopus vulgaris or the Common Octopus. Craig, who lives in Cape Town, described to MailOnline Travel the moment when he realised that the octopus was showing signs of friendship. Foster's received over 60 international awards for his work in documentary films. They don’t see humans as natural prey. And then he has ‘this crazy idea’ – 'what if I visit the octopus every day? Was Craig worried about getting up close and personal with powerful predators during his swims, such as great white sharks? For most humans, the only view of an octopus will be in an aquarium. In 2012, in order to protect the stretch of water he loves so dearly, Foster co-founded the Sea Change Project: “The idea was to get this great African Sea Forest, the home of the octopus teacher, recognized as a global icon, like the Serengeti or the Great Barrier Reef.” ‘In your psyche, of course, especially in the beginning, you’re a bit worried. Craig Foster spent a year diving — without oxygen or a wetsuit — into the frigid sea near Cape Town, South Africa. 'And she allowed me to put my miniature octopus camera inside her den and we then discovered a number of new species, crustaceans, living inside her den. The film is a collaboration between the Sea Change Project, Off the Fence Productions based in the Netherlands and Netflix. However, then along came the encounter with the octopus, which proved to be irresistibly powerful. CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - South African nature filmmaker Craig Foster was burned out. Our first exhibition was an outdoor photographic exhibit on the Sea Point promenade in Cape Town. However, Craig Foster visited his ‘teacher’ almost daily for a year in its native habitat along the shores of False Bay near Cape Town. The trailer for the documentary, which won Best Feature at the 2020 EarthxFilm Festival, can be seen here www.netflix.com/za/title/81045007. You may click on “Your Choices” below to learn about and use cookie management tools to limit use of cookies when you visit NPR’s sites. I spoke to him from his home in Cape Town. South African nature documentary on … When you’re going every day, there are days when it’s very, very rough. Burnt out film maker Craig Foster seeks solace in the ocean. We'll also behold the common octopus showing him things that have never been recorded by science or on film. He said: ‘The big moment was when she comes out and makes herself completely vulnerable to me. ‘Then she taught me how she moves in the water in a way that doesn’t disturb other animals. The father-of-one found that his daily swims rebooted his desire to film and take photographs again, but revealed that he never intended to make a film about The Great African Sea Forest – ‘no one is going to commission a film about a kelp forest’, he said. Burnt out film maker Craig Foster seeks solace in the ocean. Craig revealed that on subsequent visits, the octopus would continue to show definite signs that she recognised him. 'Britain joined the vaccine marathon in the last mile': Now US's top doctor Fauci accuses UK regulator of not properly scrutinising data before rushing approval through - as bitter EU tells Gavin Williamson to stop gloating 'as if it is a football game', Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group, I have dived on a number of occasions with white sharks. The son of famed South African documentary filmmaker Craig Foster, here Tom talks about bonding with sharks in Cape Town … The location was near Simon's Town on the Cape Peninsula, which is exposed to the cold Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean. With a long experience shooting and directing, and having received numerous international awards, the Foster brothers have deservedly carved themselves a niche in global film circles. Jane Flanagan, Cape Town Wednesday September 16 2020, 12.00am , The Times It was the unlikeliest of friendships that reignited Craig Foster’s passion for life. The true star here is not the human. See details. I’ve dived with five white sharks in open water and none of them threatened me at all. And how the amazing creature went on to become, he told MailOnline Travel, his ‘ultimate teacher’ – changing how he relates to nature. CRAIG FOSTER The Great African Seaforest is one of the most visually captivating environments on our planet, making multimedia exhibits an ideal way to share our stories. A few years ago, South African documentary filmmaker Craig Foster felt burnt out from years of working on arduous nature films. Foster is now producing a feature documentary and book to showcase the beauty of this seldom seen landscape. 'We are still, just underneath our skin, completely connected to the wild environment. ‘What happens with octopuses is that when you come near them, they shrink back, but she was doing exactly the opposite. The film is ‘an immersive portrait of human–animal understanding, brimming with danger, drama and devastating emotion’. In My Octopus Teacher we learn that Craig, 52, began free-diving without a wetsuit in the frigid kelp forest at the tip of Africa (pictured) - part of the 800-mile long Great African Sea Forest - to re-energise himself after suffering burnout. ', Craig revealed that the octopus showed definite signs that she recognised him. ‘She would come out and her eyes would sort of come forward. Produced by Foster, and directed by Pippa Ehrlich and award-winning filmmaker James Reed, ... Craig became witness to the beauty and drama of a wild creature’s life and in the process, underwent an incredible mental and physical transformation. ‎Craig Foster spent a year diving — without oxygen or a wetsuit — into the frigid sea near Cape Town, South Africa. In the documentary, before the octopus’s ‘lessons’ become apparent, we learn that Craig, 52, began free-diving without a wetsuit in the frigid kelp forest at the tip of Africa - part of the 800-mile long Great African Sea Forest - to re-energise himself after suffering burnout. Craig Foster is a South African filmmaker who resides in Cape Town and is the human star of My Octopus Teacher. Off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, the water holds an incredible love story between a man and an octopus. ‘They’re not overly aggressive to humans, especially if you relax. We'll see the creature cunningly riding the back of a shark that’s hunting it, camouflaging itself almost magically with its surroundings – and greeting Craig with the affection of a pet dog. Very smooth. 'So it’s absolutely critical that if we want to stay on the planet as a species, that we get together and figure out how to regenerate that wild system that’s keeping us alive every second.’. We are no longer accepting comments on this article. ‘We are woven of the same thread. Also revealing how in the natural world, the bushmen were completely in it, versus us who are outside of it.'. My Octopus Teacher tells the story of a Capetonian film maker and free diver, Craig Foster who needed a break from a busy schedule that was taking its toll. What he discovers below the water’s surface is a totally alien motivation in the form of an unusually curious octopus,” the Sea Change Project’s site reads.
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