A lot of positive energy and excitement filled the air.  There was a lot of buzz around the idea of seeing an ocean documentary with a happy ending. 

Ocean stakeholders from all walks of life were mingling and talking about the future of the movement to protect the sea. There were ocean athletes, like surf iron women, sailors and former olympians; divers; marine scientists; surfers; and ocean campaigners.

The date was the 5 November 2018. We had the first event in a series of private previews for ocean stakeholders of The Map to Paradise. We were in Byron Bay (Pig House Flicks) - an Australian beachside destination, famous not just for its surf and boho culture, but for its local movement to protect the sea. The film would then go on to play at private avant-previews at Sydney’s indie picture house, Dendy Opera Quays as well as at the University of Technology Sydney.  

The series of private previews for Australia was following on from the first private screening of The Map to Paradise, which took place on World Oceans Day June 2017 at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, hosted by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Professor of Ecology David Booth opened the preview at the University of Technology Sydney and Australian champion Surf Iron Woman Lizzie Wellborn joined the filmmakers for a Q&A at an exclusive screening for ocean athletes. 

Without a grant from The Wilderness Society - Sydney, this series of private screenings for Australia, would not have been possible. 

We (the directors Danielle Ryan & James Sherwood) first began our journey screening short ocean documentaries with community audiences back in 2014, with The Wilderness Society - Sydney, when we made My Saltwater Sanctuary and The Sea & Me

We have come a long way since our first ocean films, taking what we’ve learned and building on old and new relationships, to help shape a bigger and bolder documentary protect with the goal of making a social impact - helping to strengthen the movement to protect the sea by inspiring people with ocean stories of heroes worldwide. 

Ocean Conservationist & Impact Campaigner Alice Forrest, who began the journey with the filmmakers, organising the community impact screenings back in 2014, once again joined the team. 

Alice said I love being a part of this film, because I think it’s a much needed positive reminder of how much we still have left worth fighting for.

“After lots of great conversations at The Map to Paradise private screenings, I’m feeling more inspired and hopeful than ever,” said Alice. 

“There are amazing people, all over the world, doing epic things to protect our oceans. 

“They’re not all on Instagram, they don’t all have hashtags, and many of them I will never hear about or meet, but based purely on the amount of legend in my life, I think we’ve got this.” 

The new series of private screenings is helping to design The Map to Paradise social impact campaign to #RestoreParadise and #KeepPlacesWild. 

We feel honoured that many attendees have left positive testimonials for us to share to help promote the film. (We will soon add a page of testimonials to the website).  

The private peviews have been supported along the way by various food and drinks sponsors, including Brookies Gin, Tamburlaine Organic Wines, Ruby Lane Cafe, Air Stayz, Marc Hotels and Yulis Beer.

We are looking for more sponsors and grants, so that we can maximise the outreach success of The Map to Paradise. If you are interested, please get in touch at hello@themaptoparadise.com.