“My earliest memories, my deepest and most powerful memories were of this incredible coast and diving in what I call ‘my magical childhood forest,’” South African filmmaker and naturalist Craig Foster says. “It is one of the greatest ecosystems on this planet.”
The waters were teeming with sea creatures, but Foster says his encounters with one particular octopus stood out. Over a series of dives, the octopus began coming out of her den to hunt or explore while Foster watched.
“That’s when I realized: This animal trusts me. She no longer sees me as a threat, and her fear changes to curiosity,” he says. “That’s when the real excitement comes and you think, ‘Oh, my goodness, I’m being let into the secret world of this wild animal’ — and that’s when you feel on fire.”
Source: “Filmmaker Finds An Unlikely Underwater Friend In ‘My Octopus Teacher’,” Sam Briger
AT A GLANCE:
Filmmaker and naturalist Craig Foster spoke to producer Sam Briger for NPR’s Fresh Air about his film My Octopus Teacher, currently streaming on Netflix. Created by the Sea Change Project, the film follows the story of the year Foster spent befriending a wild octopus in the Great African Seaforest off of the coast of Cape Town, South Africa.
An experienced free-diver, Foster spent years diving and filming alone in the sea kelp forest near Cape Town. He eventually teamed up with camera operator Roger Horrocks, and the duo spent hundreds of hours together, filming underwater with a RED Dragon camera. Foster and Horrocks were later joined by Pippa Ehrlich, a specialized marine conservation journalist and storyteller, and in early 2017 Foster invited her to help him craft all of his extraordinary underwater experiences into a feature documentary.
Listen to Foster’s NPR interview in the player below, and then head over to the Sea Change Project website to read “The Making Of My Octopus Teacher“ to learn more about how this remarkable project encompassing hundreds of hours of underwater photography was brought to life.