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7 inspiring short films about the sea

Join us on a visual voyage across the oceans… Covering subjects as diverse as phytoplankton and poetry, we’ve selected a clutch of beautiful and enlightening short films to deepen your understanding of the myriad benefits the sea brings.

So sit back, press play and enjoy a moment’s peace.

The 90-year-old Swimmer

Swimming in the ocean every morning makes 90-year-old Walter Strohmeyer feel more like a man in his forties. Calling it “a form of meditation”, Walter reveals how a swim never fails to lift his spirits. This moving short film tells his story and transports us to the waters off Long Island, New York. Proof of the power of ritual and the ocean’s ability to rejuvenate – whatever your age.

Thank You, Sea

“This is our love letter to the sea,” said Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) when they launched this film. “You protect what you love, and we love the sea. Now let's make sure she knows it. We're in an #OceanEmergency and we need to act fast.” Featuring words by the charity’s supporters, this stirring montage of footage celebrates all that the sea means to us, and why we urgently need to shield it from harm.

The Ancient Mariner Big Read

“And soon I heard a roaring wind…”

Immerse yourself in a wild and watery world with this work of audio and visual art that reflects the drama of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic seafaring poem, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. This ambitious project – three years in the making – sees 150 verses divided into 40 readings by famous readers including Marianne Faithfull and Iggy Pop. Each section is combined with work by renowned contemporary artists.

We’ve selected reading no.20, which features Cerys Matthews’ husky tones and an atmospheric seascape by Cornish artist Sax Impey. Or, for anyone who wants to settle in, the whole poem is also available as one long video…

Why we should pay more attention to phytoplankton

What is barely visible to the naked eye, lives under the ocean’s surface, and helps create over half of the world’s oxygen? Phytoplankton, that’s what. Through photosynthesis, they take in light, carbon dioxide and water and form the base of our aquatic food webs – transferring energy up to bigger organisms. In this enlightening TED Talk, phytoplankton ecologist Reagan Errera takes us on a journey into a microscopic world, and shows why this single-celled sea-dweller deserves our attention.

#TheSeaToMe Episode Three: The Lewis Sisters

“When you lie in the sea on a really flat day and you put your ears back in the water and you look at the sky, there is no other more peaceful feeling than that. It takes you away from everything, while also connecting you to everything at the same time.”

Born and raised in Cornwall, sisters Bryony, Lottie and Monica are children of the sea. Whether writing about it, surfing on it or swimming beneath it, they each enjoy a deep personal connection with the water. In this absorbing film, they reminisce on the best wave they ever caught, how sea swimming teaches life lessons and why we should care more about preserving the ocean.

Be there, be present

It's May 2020. The UK has been in lockdown for over a month, leaving many feeling isolated and anxious. Amid this chaos, Cornish photographer Nick Pumphrey turned to where he felt most at home – the sea. This beautifully shot film documents Nick’s incredible #DawnDaysOfMay journey – following as he strides into the waves with his camera to capture every dawn of the month.

Portrait of a Surfer

An author, explorer, presenter and former pro surfer, Sam Bleakley enjoys a deep bond with the sea. His fascinating books, Mindful Thoughts for Surfers: Tuning into the tides and Mindfulness and Surfing, examine the many ways in which connecting to the ocean can calm mind and soul. In this insightful short film, shot in his home county of Cornwall, Sam reveals what surfing means to him, the lure of travel, and what makes a British and European longboard champion tick.

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