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700 Sharks shows us what happens when science and creativity come together

700 Sharks shows us what happens when science and creativity come together

There’s a reason why 700 Sharks took out the SCINEMA award for Technical Merit. For director Luc Marescot, his vision wasn’t just to explore the hunting tactics of 700 starving sharks, it was about creating a story of an epic adventure with stunning backdrops.

And while the landscapes are breathtaking, they aren’t just there for looks. Luc explains that the film was his small way of helping the planet.

“We have natural wonders, some of them haven’t disappeared yet and so we have to protect them.”

700 sharks_SCINEMA 2019_Luc Marescot

A still from 700 Sharks showing just how close the divers got.

700 Sharks takes place in an isolated channel in Fakarava, Polynesia. The channel which has a rich ecosystem full of fish and corals, offers an ideal habitat for the sharks.

“This place of the world is one unique place. One of the seven natural underwater wonders. I’m just giving my little drop in the ocean of will to preserve the planet,” says Luc.

This led Luc to approach the story using all the creativity he could muster. His approach, somewhat un-conventional came in the form of a cabin in the woods, and a lot of Post-it notes.

“I had to sleep over 50 nights with my sleeping bag in the editing room, looking at the wall with all the post its and sequences to find my way in this story,” says Luc.

“During this time, I read no newspapers, no TV, I didn’t see my friends. I just focused on the story.”

David Cropley, an internationally recognised expert on creativity and innovation, from The University of South Australia [told Australia’s Science Channel]  that divergent thinking is a key part of creativity. “Divergent thinking is a core process in creativity. It involves beginning with a question or a problem and generating as many possible ideas as you can that might solve that problem.”

“We often see this in the process of brainstorming where you begin with an idea or question and generate lots of idea – and anything goes. The important thing is that we don’t constrain ourselves but that we think of as many possible ideas as we can.”

But for Luc, his thinking wasn’t just focussed on the visuals, it was also on the music. In fact, the music at the end of the film came from him taking a step back during one of the dives.

Then, a creative vision hit him, while he was diving in deep ocean, surrounded by sharks in the middle of the night.

“Suddenly, I had the impression of being at the opera. All the actors, the divers the sharks, and what was playing in it? It suddenly came to my mind that it couldn’t be any other music.”

It’s this openness to suggestion, that David Cropley suggests can improve creativity.

“Another key element of creativity is openness to experience.”

Catch an excerpt from 700 Sharks and other films at this year’s SCINEMA International Science Film Festival. Premiere screenings will take place at cinemas around Australia from 28 May to 13 June. See a compilation of the award-winning films and festival entries in an amazing two-hour viewing experience, celebrating science on the big screen. Tickets on sale now!

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