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Cultural Events

Sanctuary Movie Series To Launch With Oscar-Winning Documentary



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UPDATE (Monday, February 12, 2024): Reservations are not needed for Sunday's movie offering. This article has been updated to reflect that seating will be first-come, first served.

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My Octopus Teacher, the 2021 Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature, will launch a new series being offered by The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.

A screening is planned for Sunday, February 18, at 3:30 pm, at Edmond Town Hall Theatre, 45 Main Street.

In keeping with the sanctuary’s mission of compassion, organizers are offering a great cinematic experience for adults and/or families interested in animals, human-animal connection, the natural world, or ocean exploration.

In his 2020 documentary, filmmaker Craig Foster doesn’t list the troubles that drove him from his beloved filmmaking to recharge on the South African coast of his childhood, but he describes himself as unfit to be near his son during this period. In this unbalanced state, he starts diving alone in the chilly waters of the kelp forest to relax and escape, and soon spots the title’s “Octopus Teacher.”

The eight-armed, liquid creature is a plucky and resourceful predator, a master of disguise, and supremely self-reliant. In his daily dives, Foster’s patience and doggedness with the octopus is rewarded.

She seems to accept him as a benign seafarer and crawls up his hand cautiously. Eventually she sits on his chest and lets him pet her. Over the course of a year of daily diving, though he feels protective, he refrains from interfering in her and the other animals’ lives. This is especially difficult when the octopus is dramatically chased by a shark. She survives but loses an arm in the process.

Weak and pale after, she eventually recovers fully, sporting a new appendage. Foster reports that as he obsesses over the octopus and her dramas, he feels himself caring more, not just for his new friend but for his son, who joins him on some dives, and for other people as well.

The movie’s epigraph notes that the experience of sharing his life with the octopus inspired Foster to start a group of divers dedicated to preserving the kelp forest.

My Octopus Teacher is rated TV-G and recommended for ages 8 and up. It has a running time of 1 hour, 25 minutes.

Seating will be first-come, first served the afternoon of the screening. Learn more at cvhfoundation.org under Events. A trailer for the film is also available at that site.

In keeping with the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary mission of compassion, a new Sanctuary Movie Series is being planned. It will premiere this month with an Oscar-winning documentary about a filmmaker who forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest. —Off The Fence/The Sea Change Project illustration
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