Ramaphosa on My Octopus Teacher Oscar win: 'A window into the natural beauty of SA's oceans'

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Craig Foster and the octopus in My Octopus Teacher. (Photo: Ross Frylinck)
Craig Foster and the octopus in My Octopus Teacher. (Photo: Ross Frylinck)
  • My Octopus Teacher won the Oscar for Best Documentary at the 93rd Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.
  • Accepting the coveted golden statuette, Pippa Ehrlich said: "I know there are many South Africans awake watching right now. In many ways, this really is a tiny personal story that played out in a seaforest at the very tip of Africa."
  • Congratulating the production team on the achievement, president Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday tweeted: "The documentary has opened a window into the natural beauty and diversity of South Africa's oceans and marine ecosystems."

South Africa's first-ever Netflix original documentary, My Octopus Teacher, won the Oscar for Best Documentary at the 93rd Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.

My Octopus Teacher was nominated alongside The Mole Agent (Chile), Collective (Romania), Crip Camp (US) and Time (US).

My Octopus Teacher, directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed, documents a year spent by filmmaker Craig Foster forging a relationship with a wild common octopus in a South African kelp forest.

Accepting the coveted golden statuette, Pippa Ehrlich said: "I know there are many South Africans awake watching right now. In many ways, this really is a tiny personal story that played out in a seaforest at the very tip of Africa, but on a more universal level, I hope that it provided a glimpse of a different type of relationship between human beings and the natural world."

Congratulating the production team on the achievement, president Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday tweeted: "The documentary has opened a window into the natural beauty and diversity of South Africa's oceans and marine ecosystems."

"We hope it will encourage a greater appreciation and advocacy for marine conservation at a time when ocean degradation is a growing global problem,"  he said. 

"This is an important milestone as it will encourage further investments, skills transfer & collaboration in South Africa's film industry," tweeted Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.

Film industry entrepreneur and movie producer Anant Singh released a statement to the media, saying: "It is also a huge boost for the South African film industry as the film was shot in Cape Town and went on to capture the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world, profiling the natural beauty of the country. The global success of the film has also served to inspire emergent South African filmmakers."

He said: "My Octopus Teacher is filmmaking at its best, especially when a documentary is so hugely embraced by viewers all around the world.

"The Best Documentary Feature Oscar is well-deserved, and I also congratulate Netflix on this accolade."

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