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A Deeper Connection

By Tania Douthwaite

(5 minute read)

OCEANLIFE FESTIVAL is a week-long, community-powered celebration of the sea, bringing film, art, music, story and community together.

Photo by Tania Douthwaite

The festival is a partnership between the City of Fremantle, local businesses and Blueback Freediving & Yoga in the coastal city of Walyalup-Fremantle, centered around Walyalup Civic Centre, the Fremantle Town Hall, Fremantle Library and the Blueback Studio in O’Connor.

OceanLife Festival is a new collaboration between the long-established, grassroots, not-for-profit Fremantle Underwater Film Festival, community creatives and saltwater knowledge-holders who’ll share their ocean wisdom, sea stories and expertise to foster a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of humanity and the sea.


Photo by Jarvis Smallman

Born of an urgent need to deepen that connection in a world growing more globalized, polluted and secular, and less personally ‘in touch’, OceanLife Festival offers a unique, annual opportunity to refresh our community connections and renew our dedication to being a nature-positive society.

Every evening at the Fremantle Town Hall, OceanLife Festival will feature a 6 – 9pm OceanLife Festival community show.

On January 9 – 12 there is a special speaker series called Blue Yarns, a collection of 20 ocean leaders from around WA who will speak about their connection and work with the ocean.

Ocean innovators, marine scientists, whale researchers, youth ocean ambassadors, and ocean health and safety experts from as far as the Great Southern reefs, Christmas Island and the North West will gather with the community while opening up the floor to ‘blue yarning’ – discussions on ocean challenges and best ways forward.

Speakers include Paul Gamblin, director of Protect Ningaloo and spokesperson for the Save Ningaloo campaign, OceanLife youth ambassador Will Selwood, founder of Saltwater Cleanups, Ryan Linton and Luke Andrew, founders of Cold Nips, Bart Bruggeman, project manager for The Ocean Cleanup (Rivers Team), Shanan Worrall, founder of Shark Eyes Australia, Christabel Mitchell, director of Save Our Marine Life – an alliance of 27 conservation organizations working to protect Australia’s marine life and way of life, Mick Holland, director of Fremantle Seaweed, OceanLife ambassadors Katharina Fannei and Max Fabry, Southern right whale researchers with UWA working with the The Little White Whale Project and many more.

The Fremantle Underwater Film Festival will run on the final three evenings of the OceanLife Festival at the Fremantle Town Hall from January 13 – 16.

In its eighth edition, the annual short film festival showcases 15-20 short underwater films, with over half written, produced and filmed in WA.

Festival goers will experience delight, wonder and inspiration, which will be sustained after the festival as ticket sales all go to support marine biodiversity conservation projects and the ocean life that is the week-long festivals’ namesake.

To donate, please see the GoFundMe “Our Community Ocean Festival Needs Your Help!”

Check out the Children’s OceanLife Festival Program for a bunch of free daytime, ocean-focused Fremantle events for families including story time with Mermaid Jessea at the Fremantle Library and chalk fish art with local artist Marion Le Crayon down by Bathers Beach.

Our full festival program can be found online at and at

Tickets are at under OceanLife Festival.

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