SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2023 REVIEW! For those of us concerned with planet earth’s environmental crisis, please take note. As the world scurries to keep up with energy needs, one resource has been left relatively untouched or unknown to the public until now. In his latest documentary film, Deep Rising, director Matthieu Rytz reveals that there is a new destructive path to ruining the planet via deep ocean mining.
As a new frontier of living on electric batteries takes hold on how we operate and live on earth, metal extractions are at a premium, and Elon Musk and others are leading the way. They have scarred the earth’s landscapes and destroyed communities, including their native lands and heritage, who live close to these mining sites. In a very in-depth, no pun intended, and visually stunning documentary, Rytz, along with narration by Jason Momoa, who is also the film’s executive director, provides a comprehensive and educational deep dive into how ocean mining has been secretly occurring around the planet. Its destruction is most likely irreversible, and companies forming to mine the ocean know very little about the life at these deep, dark depths where nodules loaded with various metals exist that supposedly hold the answer to our battery needs.
Mining these nodules with machinery the size of ginormous columbines in a corn field is The Metals Company, run by CEO Gerard Barron, whom we follow in his desperation to fund and launch his mining operation along with The Metals Company’s rise to a public offering on Wall Street. Barron claims and speaks while pitching Chinese funders and other international interests that the entire operation is mindful of long-lasting environmental impact, especially on the Pacific Ocean floor. At the same time, we learn about the constructs of deep ocean mining, and Momoa, who, at the film’s premiere, had no filter on the subject, spoke freely about this travesty and his commitment to saving the seas.
“…there is a new destructive path to ruining the planet via deep ocean mining.”
Momoa provides profound narration describing the beauty and fragility of life at these mining spots. He explains how the connection between our oceans and existence is at a tipping point. He describes the sea life imagery in Deep Rising, which is breathtaking and meditative as the screen explodes with colorfully-lit organisms floating, moving, and living amongst other sea life in their deep ocean environment. They exist in and around these metal-ladened nodules whose removal could be devastating. Yet, in these beautiful moments, Momoa’s deep, descriptive voice narration is most compelling.
Rytz also sheds light on how all this is happening and that the International Seabed Authority that gives permission to mine the Pacific Ocean floor. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), despite the overwhelming support for U.S. accession by all American government agencies, major interest groups, and many administrations, the U.S. is not a party to the Law of the Sea due to conservative views that it would be surrendering part of its sovereignty to international organizations. Although seemingly intricate, political, and suspect, Deep Rising does not leave us hanging with devastation and offers alternatives and solutions.
Perhaps the most rewarding moment in attending this film’s 2023 Sundance Film Festival premiere was when the film died on screen at the most crucial moment of answering the question of what energy will save us. A baffled audience was saved when Spanish scientist Dr. Sandor Mulsow, who plays a significant part in understanding the dire consequences of deep-sea mining, jumps up from the audience and screams hydrogen.
One could not help but compare The Metal Company’s Gerard Barron to the likes of Adam Neumann of We Work, emulating yet another man as a Pied Piper of sorts and a new edition of what seems to be a recurring rendition of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”—only this version could be catastrophic. Rytz said Barron signed off on the film, which may or may not surprise you. It certainly did me.
Deep Rising screened at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.