‘Minds in the Water’ Opens Eyes at NBFF

Minds in the Water is a must-see, eye-opening experience.  The documentary, which screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival, follows the journey of professional surfer and environmentalist, Dave Rastovich, and a few close friends, as they set out to be the voice of the whales and dolphins of our worldwide waters while embarking in a 6 week journey along the coast of Australia, known as TransparentSea.  Campaigning at the International Whaling Commission in Alaska, participating in an honorary paddle out in Japan’s well-known cove in Taijii, and spreading the word to fellow surfers and ocean-lovers, are just a few examples of the experience teamed up with Surfers For Cetaceans.  The documentary shows a unique side of the free surfer and really brings light to the current whaling issues and slaughtering of dolphins, who Rasta considers to be his friends.

Minds in the Water is a winner of several awards, including the Byron Bay International Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Award.  With a solid film crew consisting of Dave Rastovich, Justin Krumb, Jonny Vasic, Milan Vasic and Steve Barilotti, the film doesn’t disappoint.

There is another chance to see this  film, coming up this weekend, as well as the DVD release of Minds in the Water on October 1st, 2012:

Saturday, May 5, 5pm
Awareness Film Festival
Regent Showcase Theater
614 North La Brea Ave, Los Angeles

Finishing up the film brought a brief Q&A session in the theater, where members of the audience asked questions to the producers regarding the film and what occurred in it:

What do you expect from people after seeing the film?

Q&A with producers Jonny Vasic, Seth Matson, Milan Vasic, John Piccioni

Jonny: Nothing, other than just to change the world (laughs).  That's always a hard question, you know this is something we can do right now, it's not real hard to do and you can take an action right away.  You can find us on Facebook, you can go to the Minds site, check out the newsletter we send out once a month or once every other month and it tells you what we're doing and how you can get involved so I encourage everyone to go to the website and get in the loop of educating yourself and find out what your particular skill is- it doesn't have to be about saving dolphins or whales—that's our passion–  but for me, with the company my brother and I have, Evergreen Oasis, our whole goal is content with a conscience, and educating people, but we can to entertain first and we want to tell really great character-driven stories  that we're really fascinated by and that have higher purpose.  You can do the visual petition at the gateway, you can do local beach clean ups and get involved however you can.

Mylan: for me, I think the film is about is you're seeing one guy's awareness and waking up as to what's going on.  My whole thing, when I watch the film, is that being involved with guys like Seth, Dave, Jonny—every one of us has a different method, a different reason to be here, but every one of these guys, myself included, just spark.  It turned us on to what's happening around us.  We all have a voice in one way or another.

The International Whaling Commission- how often do they hold their meetings?

Jonny: Ya, that's a good point. We always try to do a big call out to try to come out to the IWC (International Whaling Commission).  It's been going on for a long time and it moves from country to country- it's annual, usually taking place in June or July.  This year it's coming up in the first week of July in Panama., so we've, along with Women for Whales, started a counter organization to the IWC we call the International Whale Celebration and we go there and try to cause trouble and get in the faces of the people handing out photos to kill whales, and you know, whaling has been outlawed since 1986; you're not allowed to commercial whale, but there's a lot of loopholes in a lot of countries like Norway and Iceland…so it's a real challenge, but we always encourage people to come out and help us protest and get our voices heard.

With strength in numbers, how do you get people involved, or actually organize something where we can go as a group?

Jonny: There's a lot of group organization on when we're going to protest and where we're going to go and stuff—we're a tiny group.  We try to activate other people and we try to be a lynch-man between other groups to get them activated.  There are groups that go down there every year, for example, Sea Shepards.

Is the Cove still the same as before the tsunami? Has anyone been back there?

Jonny: It's untouched.  There's people there right now.  The Cove is in a different part of the country, but there's people there—cove guardians—right now keeping an eye on things.  The funny thing about that, actually, is the guys who made The Cove, some friends of ours, went and put a copy of The Cove in every mailbox in Taijii in the middle of the night, so they could get educated about it.

In the movie, they had said that water people and surfers have a responsibility to the ocean.  I find that there really isn't a central focus for the environmental issues going on in the ocean that we could put on Surfline or in magazines or other areas of the surf culture.  What do you think the reluctance is?  We report on the waves, we report on the surfers.

Jonny: Fair enough, that's a good question.  That statement in the film, that's how we're visualizing things—that's how we want them to be.  We want all of those people to have the responsibility that we're talking about, and some have.  Billabong has their eco line of recycled board shorts.  In fact, Dave's [Rastovich] board shorts were the number one selling board shorts, made of all recycle material, and same with his Sanuk sandal.  He's really pushing and leading that trend, but it's a slow process.  Money, bottom line, is what counts first.  Companies are realizing that they have to be sustainable and we're trying to do that with our tee shirts, which support our charity, by using water-based ink and organic cotton.  It's expensive, but we have the responsibility.

Seth: Well, Billabong can only do so much because they're in Japan, so by going against the grain, they'll get kicked out.  A good way to support the cause is by doing the recycled board shorts.  Look for the companies that are going organic and making recycled gear and supporting local farmers markets and all that stuff.  It comes from the individual and surfers are as good as anybody else—we got the whole gauntlet from extreme activists to those who don't care, but the more people ask about it, the more people want it, then the more you're going to start to see it.

Press information can be found at: www.mindsinthewater.com/media.php