“The OceanMaker”, A Remarkable Post-Apocalyptic Film About a World Without Water

by Owen James Burke

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Screenshot from “OceanMakers”.

Imagine a day when the rivers and the seas dry up and water becomes more valuable than crack cocaine. In light of California’s current crisis, conjuring such a prospect should present little difficulty.  The world as it turns stops dead in its tracks. Oil, gold and money all seem precious little, suddenly. Begin World War III.

“The OceanMaker”, a post-apocalyptic doomsday feature film about life after the seas have dried up brings us the tale of a dauntless young girl who takes to the skies to fight for control over earth’s last water reserve: the clouds.

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Screenshot from “OceanMakers”.

The imagery–the setting–conjures up the gloominess of early German expressionism or Daliesque surrealism, which thoroughly compliments the not-too-far-off otherworldliness of the story.

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Screenshot from “OceanMakers”.

The filmmakers, Christina and Lucas Martell, are currently zipping back and forth across the world on the film festival circuit, and in the meantime the couple have managed to bring a beautiful baby girl into this world–9 month old Maryn Jolie (Maryn meaning “Sea” in Gaelic, and Jolie “Pretty” in French”).

Mindful that early parenthood and life on the road might be getting the better of them, we wanted to know exactly what inspired the dystopian plot, and how the film came into fruition, so we prodded them for an interview. Exhausted as they must be, they graciously obliged.


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Screenshot from “OceanMakers”.

Scut: What inspired you to make the film, and why is it set in the sky?

Lucas: The idea started with that one image of the two planes going head to head with the cloud in the middle. I had that image in mind for years, and knew it was the climax of a great story, but I didn’t know what it was until I started thinking that maybe the cloud was the thing they were fighting over. The idea of a world without water came out of that to support the idea of fighting for clouds.

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In the film, the protagonist probes the wild blue yonder for whatever vapors she can find, flying through clouds to collect invaluable H2O. Screenshot from “OceanMakers”.

Politicians, economists and comedians constantly make jest about WWIII being fought over not oil but water…was it by chance something in this debate that jumpstarted the idea for the film?

Lucas: It’s definitely been on a lot of people’s minds lately, and the drought in California makes it very apropos.

How long did it take you to produce “The OceanMaker”, start to finish?

Christina: It took a year and half start to finish and we’ve been on the festival circuit for almost a year now. (Here is a list of the festivals we’ve been in.)

It’s been fun to be involved in a wide variety of festivals including ones that are environmentally focused as this is a new genre for us.

Would you both consider yourselves “ocean-going folk”, at least in so many words? I.e., did you grow up by the sea; is it something that you hold dear to yourselves personally?

Christina: I grew up in southern Arizona but as a kid we took vacations in Baja California/Mexico, so I’ve always loved being near the water. I like to say we are ‘Ocean-files” We’ve always been drawn to the sea. When we met (10+ years ago) we would take trips to the Gulf Coast and spend long weekends on the beach. We aren’t divers (hopefully someday) but we love to snorkel. Trips to the Belizian coral reef and swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Mexico have been life changing experiences. We named our daughter Maryn Jolie, her name is a mash of Irish-French that means “Pretty Sea”. I also love marine life, whales, jelly fish etc. I’m learning about ocean conservation which is very dear to me and has been prompted with creating our film.


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Screenshot from “OceanMakers”.

Oh, and there are also flying pirates; how cool is that?

Watch “The OceanMaker” below, and learn more about the Martells here. -OJB

Watch a couple of behind-the-scenes podcasts by the team of the film’s animators, and why–although they’d be spending most of their time on computers–they chose to produce the film from the coral-strewn shores of Belize:

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