Jon Bowermaster, New York Writer, Filmmaker, Explorer, Is a One Man Environmental Protection Agency:
From Manhattan to the Maldives, Antarctica to Albany, National Geographic explorer,
Jon Bowermaster, is out there entertaining, educating and advocating to protect the environment. Jon sent me a link to view "After The Spill" which is about Louisiana after the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. The film is premiering at the upcoming 2015 Woodstock Film Festival
(Sept 30-Oct 4th) and my plan is to review it more fully after the festival screening. Jon is incredibly prolific and it's hard to keep up with him. At the 2014 Woodstock Film Festival he premiered “Antarctica 3D: On the Edge.” Since then, in addition to completing "After The Spill", he has managed to release several other films including “SINK OR SWIM, Learning the Crawl in the Maldives.” One of his latest projects is “The Hudson: A River at Risk.” This is a documentary series exploring three key threats to humans and the environment along the Hudson River.
From the Film Terra Antarctica by Jon Bowermaster
In that Jon never slows down, it came as no surprise learning that he was recently filming at the Refugio Beach, north of Goleta, CA. On May 19, 2015 more than 150,000 gallons of oil leaked out of a broken pipe and into the Pacific Ocean.
I was lucky to host an event with Jon in NYC entitled "Exploration 2.0: Adventure for Adventure Sake R.I.P." Jon wowed the audience with stunning pictures and video from his explorations around the world. The audience was both enthralled and captivated by how Jon weaves intoxicating stories of adventure to enlighten audiences and inspire them to become stewards of the environment. “After the Spill” contains disturbing images, detailed facts and figures which clearly reveal that the economic and ecological devastation on the Louisiana coast and Gulf of Mexico is hardly over. In fact, an oil platform formerly operated by Taylor Energy Company, toppled by a 2004 hurricane, has been leaking steadily ever since. That's a decade long leak! And, there have been thousands of spills and accidents since the BP Deep Water Horizon incident. Millions of gallons of oil from that massive leak alone remain on the Gulf floor. During storm surges that oil is brought to the surface and continues to poison people and wildlife in the region.
Grand Isle, Louisiana, photo by Jon Bowermaster
What do I like most about Jon and his work? It is that there is nothing strident about his passionate activism and environmental advocacy. He is more for that which is positive than against something negative. For instance, despite hard hitting data, “After the Spill” concludes on a hopeful note. At the end of the film a sublime image appears with the sun bursting through clouds over a lush green Louisiana landscape—a message of optimism. There is still time to reverse course and save what we are in danger of losing. But, we must take action, now. As Louisiana native, political consultant James Carville remarks towards the end of the film regarding the potential solutions to the serious problems that face us: "The opportunities of this are breathtaking." “After The Spill”, like all of Jon's films, mixes breathtaking visuals, music and a message in a hard to resist package. The work lingers for me as a trip one takes that somehow changes you viscerally, creating an awareness and sense of connection to a place and time you will always remember.
Natalie Merchant (on left), Jon Bowermaster and Meira Blaustein after screening of "Dear Governor Cuomo" at Woodstock Film Festival
Everyone needs to check out the Woodstock Film Festival 2015. I have been fortunate to discover and write about some of the best environmental films including “Chasing Ice”, “Runoff” and “Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle” screened by the WFF. Keep up the good work WFF! We are lucky to have you and Jon Bowermaster in the Hudson Valley.