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SA documentary My Octopus Teacher scoops up BAFTA for Best Documentary

My Octopus Teacher Netflix Craig Foster

Local Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher claimed top honours at this year’s BAFTA film awards.

The 74th annual ceremony took place in London on 11 April. The event was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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My Octopus Teacher co-director Pippa Ehrlich accepted the award for Best Documentary Feature. Members of the production team appeared on camera alongside Ehrlich.

“We’ve all walked a really long way together,” she said. “The biggest thank you goes to the very special little octopus who has opened hearts all over the world to the natural world and the great African sea forests.”

You can watch Ehrlich’s full acceptance speech below:

What is My Octopus Teacher about?

My Octopus Teacher was the first Netflix Original South African nature documentary. Ehrlich and James Reed directed the film in partnership with the Sea Change Project.

The film tells the story of Cape Town diver Craig Foster and his relationship with a common octopus living in a kelp forest. The film also explores Foster’s relationship with his son, Tom.

Foster began filming his encounters in 2010 at a remote location in False Bay. Before My Octopus Teacher, some of his footage was used for an episode of the BBC series Little Planet II.

Netflix released the documentary in September 2020 to critical acclaim.

Following multiple wins at several award events, and on top of the BAFTA win, My Octopus Teacher is also up for an Oscar later this month in the Best Documentary Feature category. The Academy Awards ceremony will take place on 26 April.

Other BAFTA winners

Other BAFTA winners included Nomadland for Best Film. In addition, Best Actress went to Nomadland star Frances McDormand. Anthony Hopkins took home Best Actor for his role in The Father.

Meanwhile, Soul won Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score, while Outstanding British Film went to Promising Young Women.

Feature image: Netflix

Read more: South African foundation partners with Netflix to fund local films

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