WaterBear Network and Off The Fence Celebrate Oscar Win for “My Octopus Teacher”

Streaming platform WaterBear Network celebrates tonight’s Academy Award win for My Octopus Teacher, featuring acclaimed environmentalist Craig Foster, directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed, and executive produced by WaterBear CEO and co CEO of Off the Fence Ellen Windemuth. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature to Ehrlich and Reed, who accepted on behalf of fellow winner Foster. The Academy Awards celebrate artistic and technical merit in the film and are regarded as the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry.

Craig Foster is the founder of Sea Change Project, a WaterBear network partner. As the subject and producer of the Netflix Original Film, My Octopus Teacher, he spent a year diving without a wetsuit in the frigid waters off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, trying to recover from years of arduous nature filmmaking. His own personal recovery led him deeper into the surrounding kelp forest, where he met his octopus teacher and over the course of the subsequent year, this underwater relationship enabled him to discover the necessary tools that reconnected him with his family, his science and back to environmentally impactful filmmaking.

“My Octopus Teacher was made by friends,” said Ellen Windemuth, CEO and Founder of WaterBear Network. “The Oscar is testament to the healing power of nature and highlights that life in the ocean really matters to people. Based on this notion, we created the WaterBear Network to bring these values back into our viewer’s homes and hearts.”

The overwhelmingly positive response to My Octopus Teacher from audiences worldwide brought to light the growing movement of “emotional ecology” where people feel a meaningful connection to wild places and the animals that live in them. Working with Craig Foster on this touching film inspired Ellen Windemuth to start the WaterBear Network, a free, groundbreaking streaming platform showcasing award-winning documentaries as well as original content inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). WaterBear’s main platform is free to access reflecting WaterBear’s commitment to sharing and engaging with as wide an audience as possible. Launched in December 2020, WaterBear’ original content dedicated to the future of our planet is now available in 40 countries including the US, Canada and the UK.

My Octopus Teacher is a collaboration between the Sea Change Project, Off the Fence and Netflix. This is the first Netflix Original Documentary to come out of South Africa. Directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed, executive produced by Ellen Windemuth and produced by Craig Foster, My Octopus Teacher is the culmination of a decade of hard work and dedication to showcasing the Great African Sea Forest and the creatures that live in it.

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