Cuttlefish Country documentary film trailer now online

It’s been a long, winding road of research and production work since our tiny dedicated team first applied ourselves to telling the story of Cuttlefish Country. For those of you who’ve been following our work since this website was launched in August last year, you may recall that we had initially planned to produce a short documentary, for release in 2011 or 2012. Once we realized the depth and complexity of the mystery of the vanishing cuttlefish and the extent of the expansion plans for the mining industry around Spencer Gulf, we took a deep breath and dove headlong into the story. Now our feature-length documentary is approaching its finishing stages.

We wish to express our deep gratitude to those community members, local and State government spokespeople, miners, scientists, museums, tourism operators, crowd-funding donors, sponsors, cinematographers and research volunteers who have generously assisted us in understanding, documenting and ultimately communicating the complex, interconnected web of environmental, social and economic issues that create the Cuttlefish Country story.

Without further ado, we are thrilled to present our first 3 minute trailer for Cuttlefish Country, to be released internationally in 2013. We have also provided a short synopsis of our film’s content below the video player. We wish you all a wonderful festive season everyone, and we look forward to seeing you all next year when we take the film on the road, and begin distributing it to film festivals worldwide.



Cuttlefish Country Documentary Film Synopsis

“South Australia’s Northern Spencer Gulf is home to a unique marine wildlife phenomenon. Each winter, Giant Australian Cuttlefish gather along the rocky reef at Point Lowly to breed and make way for the next generation. In the past decade, the aggregation has attracted documentary filmmakers, scientists and tourists from around the world… but all is not well in Cuttlefish Country. In recent years, the population has crashed from 250,000 animals to just 6,000 and despite cries from the Whyalla community and the conservation sector, no recovery plan or intervention is in place.

Meanwhile, plans of a different kind exist to turn the Upper Spencer Gulf region into a hub for heavy industry. The region supports extensive mangrove and seagrass meadows which provide critical fish nurseries for commercially important species, including snapper, whiting, crabs and prawns. The gulf is narrow, shallow and slow-flushing, yet it is being targeted as a future water resource for seawater desalination plants. A recent Marine Park proclamation is at direct odds with the resource sector’s desire to use the waters between Whyalla and Port Pirie as a future shipping nexus.

Politicians hang on the economic promises of resources giant BHP Billiton as the Olympic Dam mine expansion plan takes shape. The world’s largest known deposit of uranium and a trillion dollar ore body of copper and other minerals lurks beneath the surface. At Moomba in the Cooper Basin, SANTOS’ oil and gas operation is expanding to pursue ‘unconventional gas’ reserves. Meanwhile, junior miners and explorers scour the state, hoping to turn prospects into profits for their shareholders. Each project needs water and power and supplies of both are limited.

Multiple project proposals threaten the amenity and integrity of coastal locations from Point Lowly’s cuttlefish reef to Lipson Island to the south and the roosting seabirds it supports. Like the chameleonic cuttlefish, the voices of Cuttlefish Country are at once both predators and prey, dreamers and pragmatists… all struggling with the challenges of adaptation and survival.”


Dan Monceaux is a South Australian documentary filmmaker and the director of Cuttlefish Country.

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