We love getting the inside scoop behind the stunning films that we screen at the Ocean Film Festival, and year after year we are amazed at the level of work we get to appreciate. This year is no different. Celebrating 10 years of incredible ocean films, the lineup includes an array of exciting, educational and inspiring works from filmmakers near and far.

We sat down with Sunshine Coast based filmmaker Ste Everington to hear all about the details of his epic film, ‘Hypnotise’.

Celebrating the old and the new, ‘Hypnotise’ is set beneath the surface of the eastern Australian coastline demonstrating that new life can come be born out of the depths of tragedy and become something truly beautiful.  After 34 years serving in the Australian Navy, the ex-HMAS Brisbane was scuttled off the coast of Queensland in 2005. 17 years later, this epic 130 metre artificial reef is home to over 200 species of fish. 

‘Hypnotise’ a Film by Ste Everington

Here’s what Ste had to say when we caught up for a chat –

We love good stories from the making of films. Can you tell us about the best day(s) or memorable moments?
Capturing the eagle ray was a highlight by far. I already had so much good footage, but really wanted to get a more intimate shot of one of the eagle rays to finish off the movie. On my last dive of 2021, just as we were about to finish the dive, my buddy pointed behind me, and there it was! A magnificent eagle ray rose up from the wreck and glided right past me. And as we were only about 10 meters deep at the time, the natural light from the sun helped to create the perfect shot.

What was the hardest part of making the film?
As with many things in nature, life on the (ship) wreck can be very unpredictable. In many ways, I needed to surrender a lot of my creative freedom to whatever the marine life wanted to do. The unpredictable dive conditions also meant that there were many unproductive dives where I didn’t capture much footage.

Photo credit: Ste Everington

We’d love to know a bit about where you grew up, went to school, currently live? How did you end up making this film?
I grew up in the North of England and moved to London in my early 20s to work as a product designer at the BBC. I helped to pioneer their online video streaming platform, iPlayer and later moved to Sweden to work at Spotify in the early days of music streaming.

While I’ve always had a passion for filmmaking, I’ve consciously kept it separate from my career as a designer. Hypnotise, along with my ocean photography is purely a hobby and a creative outlet that should never feel like ‘work’ for me.

I moved to Sydney in 2016, where I began diving on weekends for fun. Over the years since, my camera setup has grown, I’ve dived all over the world and I’ve learned a lot about marine life. Now I live on the Sunshine Coast in Australia and absolutely love the incredible diving, right here on our doorstep. The wreck intrigued me from the first time I dived it. I couldn’t help but go back regularly to capture the life around it, and eventually compiled it into this film.

Ste Everington- Image, courtesy of Ste

Any interesting facts about the making of this film? How was it achieved?
I spent about 16 hours diving on the wreck at various times of the year, however a lot of the film was actually captured on just 2 dives in July 2020, when the conditions were perfect and there was so much marine life surrounding the wreck!

I chose to call the movie Hypnotise because that’s the feeling I got when the baitfish surround me on the wreck. I’ll never forget my first dive on the wreck, when the baitfish surrounded me and I felt completely hypnotised. When they eventually parted, I had completely lost my dive buddy in all the chaos!

What message do you hope people will take home from watching this film?
The Ocean Film Festival is what inspired me to create Hypnotise in the first place, so I hope that my film inspires other people to get out there, and capture more stories from our oceans.

Thanks Ste- you’re a legend! And we can’t wait to see your film screened at the 10th Anniversary Australian tour of the Ocean Film Festival.

Get your tickets today and avoid disappointment. You don’t want to miss out on this stunning film, just one of seven in the epic lineup this year.


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