Current Sea

An environmental thriller that probes the murky depths of the Southeast Asian fishing industry

Current Sea A compelling testimony to the possibilities of local activism, this environmental thriller follows investigative journalist, Matt Blomberg, and ocean activist, Paul Ferber, in their dangerous efforts to create a marine conservation area and combat the relentless tide of illegal fishing in Southeast Asia. Along the way a new generation of Cambodian environmentalists are inspired to create a better life for their people.

 Current Sea
(2020) on IMDb

LaurelEarthXFilm | Winner | Impact Award
LaurelBig Sky Documentary Film Festival | Premiere
LaurelMountainfilm in Telluride | Winner | Student Award
LaurelWoods Hole Film Festival | Winner | Fortitude in Filmmaking
LaurelBrooklyn Film Festival | Nominee
Laurel Garden Route International Film Festival | Winner | Best Documentary
Laurel Aarhus Film Festival | Winner | Best Documentary

The Producers

Christopher Smith - Director/Producer

Christopher Smith is a documentary, commercial, and music video director and producer. His first feature documentary, TINY: A Story About Living Small, premiered at SXSW in 2013 and was screened at more than 40 film festivals around the world including Hot Docs, DOC NYC, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and Mountainfilm in Telluride. TINY won several awards during its festival run. It was released in June 2014 via Al Jazeera America and First Run Features on Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes where it was extremely popular with millions of views. Christopher is currently in production on his third feature, American ESPionage.

Stephanie Lincoln - Producer

Stephanie is a documentary filmmaker and attorney who has worked on documentary feature films, shorts, and series for HBO (Spielberg, Jane Fonda in Five Acts), Amazon (Meek Mill), Netflix (Afflicted), A&E (Lost for Life), TBS (American Race), and KCET (A Golden State of Mind: The Storytelling Genius of Huell Howser). She also produced on the independent films City of the Damned, Saving Eden, and Jewel’s Catch One. She received a B.F.A. from New York University and a J.D. from Chapman University, Dale E. Fowler School of Law.

Lyman Smith - Editor

Lyman’s work has appeared in festivals across the globe from Sundance to Tribeca to Telluride as well as Cannes, Paris, and Frankfurt. The efficacy of his approach to the craft has also helped to launch successful documentary programs on a variety of television networks including IFC, BBC, CNN, National Geographic Channel and The Discovery Channel, and his work has appeared before the UN General Assembly. With an interest in climate change and social justice, Lyman views every film as an opportunity to inspire audiences for the sake of a greater good.

Making The Film

The seeds for CURRENT SEA were planted many years ago while I was in university. I studied ethics, policy, leadership, and nonprofit management, so I spent a significant amount of time thinking about how to affect positive change in a world that seemed hell bent on destroying itself. It seemed to me that the greatest challenge to addressing contemporary issues is that most people tend towards complacency, while those that are motivated to make change often feel powerless in the face of systemic inequality and injustice.
Through the course of my studies I came to believe two things:

-- All social and environmental problems are solvable
-- Even just one person can make a difference

When I first read about Paul Ferber and his work with Marine Conservation Cambodia (MCC), I was instantly taken with his story. I’m enamored by people that put everything on the line, betting on a better tomorrow. Paul and his teammates at MCC had given up modern conveniences to do research and to create the country’s second marine conservation area, all while risking bodily harm to confront the hordes of illegal fishing vessels that scrape the ocean floor clean every night.

After witnessing how Matt Blomberg’s work as an investigative journalist augmented and called attention to Paul’s work, I realized that this was an interesting case study of how two driven people, flawed as they may be, came together to stop the unsustainable exploitation of Cambodia’s oceans. I knew we had the makings of an important film.

As filming for CURRENT SEA progressed, I encountered two Cambodian young women, Vida and Rachana. After hearing their stories, I was inspired by the courage it took them to go against the advice of everyone they knew to go study with MCC on a remote island to become some of the first ocean activists and researchers of their generation.

I think this is what makes CURRENT SEA such a necessary and timely story. At the moment, people all around the world feel disempowered and unable to stop the relentless attacks on the environment. Yet this film features several people who stepped up and did it anyway. It inspires the audience to do what they can, wherever they may be. It reminds us all that action is a necessary component of change, and that through such action, even just a handful of people can positively affect the world.

That’s not to say that this film is just a black and white facsimile of a story that, in reality, is steeped in nuance. As CURRENT SEA shows, Paul and Matt’s methods are not entirely without controversy. Their story includes gray areas that challenge the audience to think critically about the ethics of activism and weigh that against the need to make meaningful progress. It shows that, in developing countries, environmental issues are social issues, and that the lack of resources and strong institutions, things that we take for granted in the West, exacerbate already difficult problems.

At its heart, CURRENT SEA is an exciting and hopeful film that manages to shake us out of our complacency, while revealing the complexities of doing conservation work in developing countries.

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