Guardians of the Gulf (2020)
|Guardians of the Gulf|
|Directed by||Cait Martin Newnham, Ulla Laidlow|
|Produced by||Aine Corby, Jenny Williams|
|Edited by||Carter Pinkowski|
Media One Creative
The Gulf of Mexico has long been affected by hurricanes, oil spills, overfishing, and agricultural run-off, but continues to support one of the most biodiverse ecosystems, with over 15,000 species. This resilience is tenuous because—like any relationship—only so much can be taken without giving back.
In Guardians of the Gulf, the Gulf of Mexico is given a voice by her caretakers to tell a story of generosity and strength. These conservationists, fisherpeople, tour operators, chefs, and student leaders strive to improve sustainability in their work and community. Through action, they are seeing change. Through this change, they see hope.
The guardians show that action can result in tangible change, and this change inspires hope. Their voices ebb and flow throughout the narrative, moving with the tide of every advance toward sustainability and retreat with each disaster. With hope, more people are motivated to take action, and the wave of sustainability continues to swell.
An all-female crew embraced the cold and rainy shoot days in Alabama, the lashing wind in Veracruz and the sunny skies in Texas to visualize the dynamism of the Gulf of Mexico.
The documentary has not been released to the public yet. But it's been screened at multiple Film Festivals and is currently lined up for more, such as the 16th Annual Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival.   
Mary Kay Inc., the executive producer of Guardians of the Gulf, has been passionately committed to worldwide awareness and actions for the protection of the environment for decades. Working collaboratively with The Nature Conservancy and an all-female film crew that included Cait Martin Newnham and Ulla Laidlaw (Directors), Aine Corby and Jenny Williams (Producers), and Gayle Ye (Director of Photography), Mary Kay produced Guardians of the Gulf with a goal of harnessing the power of documentary storytelling to shine a light on a biodiverse ecosystem and the guardians who work tirelessly to protect this hardworking body of water.
Cait Martin Newnham
Cait Martin Newnham is a director, writer and producer specializing in documentary films and branded content. She produced Pandora’s Box: Lifting the Lid on Menstruation, an award-winning documentary about the global menstrual movement. The film premiered at the 2019 Whistler Film Festival and the 2020 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
After pursuing a Master’s of Journalism, Cait’s first documentary film, Filter, about Instagram influencers was bought by Bell Media. Cait is currently working on narrative and documentary projects.
Ulla Laidlaw is a Toronto-based filmmaker, focusing on environmental filmmaking both in practice and content. She is currently developing Under the Concrete with Charles Street Video, a curated program of Engaged Environmental Filmmaking that connects filmmakers with the land and water in Toronto as a first impulse in narrative filmmaking practice. Her most recent documentary Time Machine, follows Radix Theatre’s 5 hour yacht trip exploring the past, present and future of traditional unceded Tsleil-Watuth First Nation’s territory waters, while directing remotely in a carbon-cutting filmmaking practice. She is pleased to be a part of the collaborative team of Guardians of the Gulf, and to have an opportunity to honour the people who live, work and play in this precious body of water.
While learning about the Gulf of Mexico and its recent history, Ulla and I found ourselves overwhelmed by the depth of its tragedies and their impact. But then we met the incredible people of the Gulf and we quickly acknowledged that a story of hopelessness didn’t fit. We wanted to reflect the strength and resilience of the Gulf in the film’s narrative to give the ecosystem a voice to inspire action and hope.
While we were making Guardians of the Gulf, we fell in love with the Gulf of Mexico. She emerged quickly as a character who is generous, adaptable and powerful. The Gulf gives life and a route for migration to over 15,000 species, and provides humans with food, income and protection from natural disasters. Her reach is far, and her plight is symbolic of the global climate crisis.
We filmed with the Gulf’s tireless guardians over eight days in Texas, Alabama and Veracruz. Their voices ebb and flow throughout the narrative, moving with the tide of every advance towards sustainability and retreat with each disaster. The guardians show that action can result in tangible change, and this change inspires hope. With hope, more people are motivated to take action, and the wave of sustainability continues to swell.
This documentary welcomes the pace of the water, and to reflect this dynamic tone, we filmed characters in motion as they interacted with their environment and we introduced camera movement through handheld setups. Our female-led crew embraced the cold and rainy shoot days in Alabama, the lashing wind in Veracruz and the sunny skies in Texas to visualize the dynamism of the Gulf of Mexico.
We wrapped production feeling motivated to do something. The people fighting to protect the Gulf inspired confidence in our ability to make change happen. I hope that this film inspires curious minds to learn how they can act locally to impact global sustainability.
- US Department of Commerce, NOAA. "Research Studies". www.weather.gov. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
- "Protecting Marine Wildlife". www.healthygulf.org. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
- ""Guardians of the Gulf" to Screen Online Beginning January 20 at the 16th Annual Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival". ca.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
- ""Guardians of the Gulf" Selected to Premiere at LA Femme International Film Festival This Month". www.moviedebuts.com. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
- ""Guardians of the Gulf" Selected to Premiere at LA Femme International Film Festival This Month". financialpost. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
- ""Guardians of the Gulf" to Screen Online for Free All December Through the Wild Texas Film Tour". ca.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
- "About Film". www.guardiansofthegulf.com. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
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