South Africa's 'My Octopus Teacher' wins at the Oscars

South Africa's 'My Octopus Teacher' wins at the Oscars

The first ever South African Netflix Documentary, 'My Octopus Teacher', has won an Oscar. 

Agressive octopus

Earlier this year, South African documentary ‘My Octopus Teacher’ made its debut on global streaming service Netflix to an incredible response. After nabbing a string of awards over the past few weeks, the documentary hit it big as it took home the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film on Monday morning.

The film, which became the first Netflix original documentary to come out of South Africa, depicts the special bond between an octopus and filmmaker Craig Foster in the waters of False Bay and tugged on the heart strings of viewers around the world.

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‘My Octopus Teacher’ has already taken home more than 20 awards this season, including Best Documentary at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) and Producers Guild of America Awards, and has become the first nature documentary to win a coveted Oscar since 'The Cove' back in 2010.

Accepting the award in Los Angeles was co-director Pippa Ehrlich and her co-directing colleague James Reed. Ehrlich says that she was “utterly overwhelmed” with “an honour we never dreamed possible”.

“In many ways this really is a tiny personal story that played out in seaforest at the very tip of Africa, but on a more universal level I hope that it provided a glimpse of a different type of relationship between human beings and the natural world,” Pippa said in her acceptance speech.

Filmmaker Craig Foster is thrilled at the response his story has received around the world. Not only was he able to share the incredible bond he made with an octopus with the world, but the documentary also reminded people of the importance of keeping oceans clean so that ecosystems can work together and ocean life can continue to thrive.

“The Academy Award elevates the Great African Seaforest and surrounding ocean of South Africa into global iconic status. This is excellent news for us, because it underlines what we have been aiming for: to show the world that we are sitting on a biodiversity treasure trove that is deeply worthy of protection,” Foster said moments after the documentary won the coveted award.

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“What has been most exciting for us as an organisation has been the feedback. We have received thousands of messages from people around the world. Many have started diving, studying marine sciences or using ’My Octopus Teacher’ as a tool in mental health workshops, and in discussions around emotional ecology and deep nature connection. We wanted to showcase this wonderful ecosystem, the Great African Seaforest, to the world, and we have succeeded.”

Image courtesy: iStock

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