Healthy Seas won in the Best Environmental Film Category for its short documentary Journey to Ithaca at the Cannes World Film Festival – Remember the Future. Directed by Michael Westreicher, the 15-minute film tells the story of the biggest clean-up to date by Healthy Seas and its partners.
After it went bankrupt, a fish farm was abandoned on the island of Ithaca in Greece and for ten years, it was wreaking havoc to the marine environment, local community and maritime traffic.
A local environmentalist by the name of George Lilas decided to do something about it and publicized photos of the catastrophe on social media, getting the attention of Healthy Seas that was able to mobilise funding and partners to help restore the area. Seventy six tons of marine litter was removed in just eight days by volunteers underwater and at the surface.
Hyundai Motor Europe provided funding for the project, that wouldn’t have been possible was it not also for the precious support of many other partners such as Ghost Diving, Enaleia, Kefalonia Fisheries, the Hellenic Coast Guard, Odyssey Outdoor Activities, Aquatic Scuba Diving Club, Scubalife, the Municipality of Ithaca and Prefecture of Ionian Islands, Kosamare and the Ionian Environment Foundation and the Decentralized Administration of Peloponnisos, Western Greece and Ionian that gave the permission for the clean-up. The project was held under the Auspice of the Hellenic Ministry of Maritime Affairs.
“Being part of this project was an eye-opening experience for me. I have dived all over the world but nowhere have I seen such devastation to the marine environment caused by human negligence. I hope that this award will help raise awareness about pollution and inspire many to take action,” says Michael Westreicher, director of the documentary Journey to Ithaka.
Photo credit: Cor Kuyvenhoven / Ghost Diving / Healthy Seas