Awards Season Picks: My Octopus Teacher

A topless man underwater with an octopus

Next in our Awards Season Picks series are directors James Reed and Pippa Ehrlich. They chat to The Hollywood Reporter’s awards columnist Scott Feinberg about their BAFTA-winner and Oscar® -nominated documentary, My Octopus Teacher

By Jess Aureli

To be captivated by My Octopus Teacher is not necessarily the hottest of takes: from Paul the World Cup winner-predicting oracle (RIP) to Ursula, the admittedly hybrid nemesis of The Little Mermaid, there’s always an appetite for octopus-based content. So surprise should be low level at the discovery that the world is charmed by the story of a free-diving film-maker forging a friendship with a cephalopod living in a South African kelp forest (‘What she taught me was to feel that you are part of this place, not just a visitor’ – even for an underwater film, there won’t be a dry eye in the house).

But sometimes the B story is just as interesting, as we discovered when directors James Reed and Pippa Ehrlich sat down with journalist Scott Feinberg to discuss the film. The conversation that unfolded covered not just the film itself and its reception, but the process of crafting a story: the importance of timing, the surprising mutability of narrative, and the highs, lows and just general deviations that you can encounter along the creative process.

Watch the video if you like documentaries, love octopuses, and need to hear about how feeling lost can lead to finding inspiration.
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