Stressed Out and Stir Crazy? This is “Ocean Medicine”

Australian Filmmaker Darius Devas understands the mesmerizing and calming power of ocean wave imagery. In “Ocean Medicine,” his personal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Byron Bay filmmaker combines two of his passions: filming the ocean and mental health.

“Like many others working in the film and television industry all my work was cancelled,” Devas said. “I found myself obsessively reading newspaper articles about every new development of this horrible virus and it was driving my anxiety through the roof.”

On the far-north coast of New South Wales, his home of Byron Bay is the eastern tip of the Australian mainland. “Luckily for me I have access to the ocean to calm my nerves,” Devas said. “I started thinking how grateful I am for where I live during this time. I thought I’d love to share some of my experience of the ocean with those who don’t have access to it, or any nature for that matter.”

Devas drew on his extensive archive of ocean imagery to create a mesmerizing experience of oceanic landscapes, combined with a calming sound design by Walker Lee.

Devas’s suggestion for everyone? “Allow yourself to briefly pause and let the ocean wash over you.”

Devas has been exploring high speed ultra slow-motion camera technology in the ocean for more than a decade, to capture incredible imagery of the waves and water in fine detail. His experimental oceanic short film Within was narrated by Guy Pierce and exhibited at National Gallery of Victoria in 2014.

Last year, Devas released a mental health documentary series called The Common Thread, in which young people from around Australia opened up about their mental health and shared the tools and tactics that supported them. The series received over one million views online and screened on ABC Compass.

Learn more about Darius Devas and follow his Being Here work on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

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FIlmmaker Darius Devas capturing footage in the ocean.