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2023 Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival will take place from 19 to 29 January, 2023.


Sundance and other Park City Festivals news, past and future.   #sundance @sundancefest


DEEP RISING Interview with director: Matthieu Rytz Sundance 2023

By Emmanuel Itier

DEEP RISING is a tale of geopolitical, scientific and corporate intrigue: investigating the future of the world's energy crisis and how it is currently tied to the fate of the deep ocean floor, which is intricately tied to our survival.

5 years after Anote’s Ark, Matthieu Rytz returns with this up-to-the-minute tale of geopolitical, scientific, and corporate intrigue that exposes the machinations of a secretive organization empowered to greenlight massive extraction of metals from the deep seafloor that are deemed essential to the electric battery revolution. Narrated by Jason Momoa, Deep Rising illuminates the vital relationship between the deep ocean and sustaining life on Earth. The documentary also follows mining startup The Metals Company, as it pursues funding, public favor, and permission from the International Seabed Authority to mine wide swaths of the Pacific Ocean floor. Rytz’s fly-on-the-wall access observes extraction companies as they co-opt scientific studies and deliver pitches to investors, proposing how the costs of industrializing our Earth’s last pristine environment can be justified to access metals they claim will benefit all of mankind. As oil conglomerates pivot investments to deep-ocean mining, Deep Rising examines humanity’s destructive pattern of extracting materials for profit and asks why we don’t choose, instead, to develop abundant resources to solve our energy problems.


Q: How did it come together and what was the goal with this inspiring movie?


Matt: This has been a long process, five years in the making. I was intrigued by hearing there was such thing as deep-sea mining. I didn’t realize at the time it was crucial for the future of sourcing energy for our humanity. I didn’t realize at first the consequences and the danger for the fragile ecosystem of the oceans. It was also fascinating to find out about all the negotiations taking place at the U.N for such endeavor. It was a very challenging film to make. Especially the edting part which took me over two years of my life. This story is so big with so many layers that it is quite complex to put together. There are so many angles, so many stories that it is a challenge to tell all these stories in one film.


Q: How did you get Mister Aquaman, Jason Momoa, to be the narrator of your film?


Matt: At first, I was thinking to use a well-known marine scientist but I didn’t want to preach only to the choir and I wanted the film to be attractive to the masses. So, I thought we needed an actor that has a sensibility with the subject matter. And I think that having “Aquaman”, Jason Momoa, was perfect for the job. He has a connection with the ocean with his roots and his family who are water men and Polynesians. Deep sea mining happens also in the south of Hawaii where he is from.  It wasn’t easy to get him as he is very busy but when he saw the movie he came onboard without hesitation. When we recorded his voice in the studio, I realized how perfect he was because of his deep profound human voice. He is perfect and you can’t go deeper with a voice like his.


Q: What does, being in Sundance, represent to you?


Matt: For a filmmaker, being in Sundance is magic and inspiring. Look at all the great documentaries that came from screening in Sundance. Also, it’s about getting the best distribution deal possible, which is important as I’d like for this film to be seen by as many people as possible. Also, it’s important to create an echo system around the film and create awareness. It’s important to bring it to the audience in order to trigger changes. With the proper impact campaign, we can move the needle to push for some changes. We can have a voice with the international sea authorities in order to influence the potential impact of deep-sea mining. The green revolution is necessary but we are not in a revolution right now, we are in a status quo having massive capital moving from oil and gas to the next form of extraction. Sure it’s better to have a battery based car but not if it impacts the eco system of the oceans. It can be made of phosphate, iron and aluminum or also from green hydrogen, which is the cleanest form of energy. It makes no sense to keep opening mining in various part of the world to destroy the environment, like right now in Indonesia where they mine nickel and kill the eco-system and in order to power Tesla! No! You can use solar and wind and you can create green energy to create electricity.


Q: What comes next for you?


Matt: Actually what comes next is to use this film into another format to keep spreading awareness and educate the masses and the youth. I want to have a traveling inter-active exhibition. I want people to come and share the vision, the ideas proposed in this film. Also we have an Imax experience we are developing for this film.  Of course, I have a few other ideas for other documentaries. One step at a time. It’s all about education and impacting the next generation to be better educated about what is going on. It’s time to wake and make a change!


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Ambiance from Park City Sundance film Festival January 20 - 30, 2022.

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