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“The Arrival of a Massive Pod of Dolphins Mid-Shot” | Robert Connolly, Blueback

A girl wearing a wetsuit and snorkeling gear swims in the blue open ocean and stares at a sizable saltwater fish.Blueback, courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Every production faces unexpected obstructions that require creative solutions and conceptual rethinking. What was an unforeseen obstacle, crisis, or simply unpredictable event you had to respond to, and how did this event impact or cause you to rethink your film?

Blueback filmed in remote Western Australia at the height of the pandemic. Quarantine requirements for cast and crew were significant and the border was closed many times. Once in the extraordinary Bremer Bay where we filmed though, the local community were so supportive and appreciate of the lengths we had gone to to protect their community.

Filming with young children in the open ocean required a significant shark mitigation strategy, with observational drones checking for sharks before the actors entered the water. I was keen that the cast did their own swimming and diving and they all became proficient free divers, safety requirements were also significant to protect the actors in the water. When one of the crew had spotted a shark while surfing that morning, our attention to this was somewhat heightened!

One challenge that in many ways was a highlight of the shoot was the arrival of a massive pod of dolphins mid-shot, with Radha Mitchell at the helm of a motor boat. She immediately dropped out of character and headed off with the dolphins. Fair enough!

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

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