Picture a man swimming head to head with a giant turtle, a stingray and countless little fish in a vast, beautiful ocean. As he glides around, he finds himself surrounded by an alarming amount of plastic shopping bags, wrappers, clothing, cups and plates, tin cans and other bits of non-disposable rubbish. Eventually, the man confronts a huge whale made of waste, which swallows him whole.
Ocean pollution is the focus of Birthplace, a music video produced for Welsh artiste Novo Amor by Malaysian filmmaking company New Frontier Pictures and Dutch directors Jorik Dozy and Sil van der Woerd. Novo Amor’s gentle voice drums the environmental message home in this haunting work, which features freediver Michael Board, who did more than 250 dives to capture each scene. Filming was carried out in Bali and off Komodo Island in Indonesia, with 35 hours spent underwater. The life-sized whale was built by 25 people and eight divers controlled it beneath the waves.
“It was an empowering and unique project, with a final product that is incredibly fulfilling,” says New Frontier Pictures founder and producer Sean Lin. The company has produced several environmental projects, including Oliver Spalding’s music video for Epoch, on climate change, and a documentary titled Save Our Souls, on Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic’s land art installation that focuses on sustainable oil palm farming in Southeast Asia.
Birthplace is endorsed by the Plastic Oceans Foundation, which aims to educate and create awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution. In 2016, it produced a documentary feature film called A Plastic Ocean to highlight the material’s impact on the environment.