8-legged Octopus Claims SA’s 6th Oscar

Apr 26, 2021News

South Africa’s Oscar glory continues in 2021 as a locally produced documentary secures the golden Oscar. 

Pippa Ehrlich would never in her wildest dreams have imagined that her quirky little documentary, My Octopus Teacher (which was her first foray into documentary filmmaking), would result in her team receiving a letter of congratulations from President Cyril Ramaphosa two nights before she attended the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

“The documentary is storytelling at its best, with a deeply resonant conservation message,” wrote Ramaphosa in a personal letter to the filmmakers.

“This documentary will encourage a greater appreciation and advocacy for marine conservation at a time when ocean degradation is a growing global problem. Bringing home the Oscar will indeed be a crowning achievement for the production team and for our country.”

The enthralling documentary shares the most unusual story of a man going through personal challenges and suffering from a loss of purpose in life. While diving the freezing kelp forests around his Simon’s Town home, he develops an incredible relationship with an octopus during what becomes a daily diving regimen. Through the journey the diver learns some invaluable lessons about life, as well as racking up thousands of hours of incredible underwater footage.

My Octopus Teacher, directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed with Craig Foster (diver and filmmaker), was the front-runner tipped by most pundits to secure the Oscar, and the incredible journey that the filmmakers take us on deservedly earned the sixth Oscar for a South African or South African-born nominee. It also represented the 18th Oscar nomination for a South African.

Eccentric, wistful yet deeply moving, this unusual film will serve as an inspiration for South Africans in all walks of life to think differently and be more open to out-the-box thinking, while at the same remembering that sharing your human side and true emotions can also be a route to personal, artistic or business success.  

Truly a great reason for South Africans to celebrate. 

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