Richard Sidey has just received the Director’s Award by the International Ocean Film Festival (IOFF) for his documentary following a study on the ecology of humpback whales conducted by the NGO Conservation International in the Antarctic aboard a PONANT ship.

Research mission in the heart of Antarctica conducted by the NGO Conservation International with the support of the PONANT Foundation

In February 2020, a Conservation International research team of six scientists spent three weeks on PONANT’S ship, L’Austral to to gather and analyse information on the distribution, genetics and acoustics of whales: the beginning of a wider ranging partnership with the PONANT Foundation to gain a better understanding of how the sounds of whales interact with the sounds of ice and ships. As an indicator, the study can help better understand how the ice changes have an impact on humpback whales, and more generally on the health of our oceans. With the assistance of the ship’s captain and PONANT’s naturalist-guides, their mission was very successful, with a total of 60 whales identified and 16 hours of underwater recordings registered.

"Protection of Antarctica is critical for the adaptation of marine life to climate change. Our work aims to the creation of essential marine protected areas in Antarctica, contributing to the long-term conservation and management of the polar seas," explains Olive Andrews, Conservation International’s lead marine scientist and Antarctic expedition leader.

Reportage in images: “Whales in a Changing Ocean”, a documentary by Richard Sidey, awarded in San Francisco

Richard Sidey, an award-winning wildlife filmmaker based in New Zealand, joined the scientists on this research mission for 20 days aboard L’Austral. He then edited the sumptuous images filmed on board the Zodiacs with the scientists or taken from drones, in a magnificent twenty-minute documentary entitled "Whales in a changing ocean": a moment of grace and emotion, a plunge into the eyes of the researchers, as close as possible to the majestic ballet of these mammals, which are happy to let themselves be approached and tamed for a moment by these benevolent visitors and to respond to their greetings with a delicate movement of their fins.

With this documentary, punctuated by exceptional images of humpback whales and breathtaking panoramas of the Antarctic, Richard Sidey won best director at the 18th edition of the IOFF (International Ocean Film Festival), which runs from April, 15th to May, 2nd 2021 in San Fransisco.

Discover a preview of the film: