Ipswich filmmakers take shark net problem to world

 

TWO Ipswich business partners focused on protecting sharks and other marine life are preparing to take their "passion project'' to the world.

Film makers Andre Borell and Reese Lowe are highlighting what they call "a serious issue lying beneath Queensland and NSW waters''.

Working together at Dinmore, the duo teamed up to create a new documentary called Envoy: Cull.

The feature-length film being released in July questions the effectiveness of what they call archaic shark control programs in both states, including using baited drum lines and mesh fishing nets.

Envoy: Cull film producer Andre Borell (left) and assistant Reese Lowe want to take a serious shark and marine life capture issue around Australia and overseas.
Envoy: Cull film producer Andre Borell (left) and assistant Reese Lowe want to take a serious shark and marine life capture issue around Australia and overseas.

The footage shows how the methods kill or distress sharks, along with an abundance of marine life like dolphins, baby whales, turtles and rays.

"We hope that through creating and releasing this film we can bring increased awareness and international scrutiny on the shark control programs that exist in the Queensland and NSW waters," said director and producer Mr Borell said.

"Our message is two-fold. To expose what is happening because the general public genuinely do not know what this program actually is.

"Once you see what it is, it is actually quite horrifying.

"And then message number two is to provide solutions.

"So we don't just want to bag the current program. We just want to lay out the fact of it and then we always want to show basically how it should be done in 2020, with all the technology that is available to us.''

The production provides less destructive alternatives used elsewhere around Australia and overseas.

These include using eco-friendly barriers in different conditions, training and upskilling life guards, and employing drones for shark surveillance.

 

Envoy: Cull film producer Andre Borell.
Envoy: Cull film producer Andre Borell.

Mr Borell and assistant producer Mr Lowe are partners in Ipswich company The Hype Project.

"The best thing is this is a passion project for us,'' Mr Lowe said.

"We have a normal business which operates as a marketing company but we always want to be working on something like this which has a greater cause . . . to facilitate change in the world. And it's not about money.''

Mr Borell and Mr Lowe have produced the Envoy: Cull with a view to having it screened in Australia and internationally.

Mr Borell, 33, had a strong background in karting and motorsport, regularly racing at the Ipswich Motorsport Precinct, before becoming an Australian entrepreneur, film maker and ocean activist.

The Brookwater and former Ripley resident has also been a diver for a decade.

In 2018, Mr Borell co-founded the Dinmore-based videography and digital marketing agency The Hype Project with a goal to make films that matter.

Mr Borrell said the name of the latest film defined the group of people who have joined forces - from those involved with ocean conservation and animal welfare including Sea Shepherd, the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Humane Society International.

It features Hawaii-based Ocean Ramsey "the shark whisperer", known for free-diving with great white sharks, and Byron Bay filmmaker Madison Stewart, referred to as Australia's "shark girl".

"I knew what I wanted the story to be but I didn't actually have a name,'' Mr Borell said.

"As soon as I got into interviewing people and meeting all the people that work in this space - be it scientists, researchers, conservationists - I really realised that they were part of the story. In most cases, they dedicate their life to trying to get the truth out there.

"It (Envoy: Cull) just struck a chord with me . . . that's really what I thought these people in our film were (messengers).''

 

Envoy: Cull film assistant producer Reese Lowe.
Envoy: Cull film assistant producer Reese Lowe.

The documentary is currently about 100 minutes. The final cut is expected next week and due for release in July.

"Netflix is obviously the pinnacle for us,'' Mr Lowe said.

"We just want the film to be seen by as many people as possible then it has the best chance to inflict change in Australia.''