South African Emmy award-winning cinematographer and director Lee Doig has combined two of his great passions – the ocean and story-telling – as part of his contribution to a global documentary series aimed at giving world leaders at the United Nations COP26 climate change conference something to think about.
Doig and Let It Rain Films, the production company he owns with producer Sam Kelly shot and directed one of 12 episodes for the new YouTube Original series “Seat At The Table”.
The series features interviews with young activists from around the world, following climate activist and documentary maker Jack Harries on his journey to the United Nations’ Cop26, the most important global climate change meeting in history, in Glasgow.
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On his low-carbon journey, Harries gathers the stories of under-represented young people on the front lines of climate change around the world, which he will present to world leaders at COP26, giving them a Seat at the Table.
Doig collaborated with acclaimed international filmmakers from around the world to highlight the devastating impacts of and innovative solutions to climate change.
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The series includes interviews with legendary documentary maker Sir David Attenborough and primatologist Jane Goodall. Their episode was launched on November 3 on YouTube.
The episode features local marine scientist Thando Mazomba and Capricorn Park resident Marlin van Sensie from the I Am Water ocean conservation group, and focuses on carbon capture, the blocking of excess carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Doig lives in Kommetjie and is a surfer.
“Every two breaths we take comes back from the ocean,” said Doig. “Living in a town like Kommetjie, and dealing with people who interact with the ocean and are trying to make a difference, that’s important and a privilege.”
Kelly and Doig may be better known as the team behind the highly-successful Outsurance ads, who they have been involved with for over 10 years. Let it Rain also produced the Real Housewives of Durban.
Doig, son of legendary war cameraman Tommy, followed his father into the industry despite promising himself as a child he would not do so. He set out on a career in professional football for a spell, playing for AmaZulu, before heading to London where he worked for British media legend Janet Street-Porter.
After working on the Amazing Race, Doig spent two years in Afghanistan and Iraq for international news channels. He has been part of Survivor USA for over 16 years and has received 13 Emmy nominations for his work on the show, winning an Emmy for cinematography.
Story-telling is the basis of all of his work, whether that be commercials or long-form documentaries. Telling the story of carbon capture through Van Sensie, who is a coach with I Am Water, took them around the Cape peninsula, focussing mainly on kelp forests and their role in the ocean’s vital role in carbon capture.
“The driving message is that decisions on the climate are made by corporates and politicians, but the people who are most affected are the poor,” said Doig.
“That’s why it resonates so much with South Africa because of our socio-economic situation, how dangerous living in places like the Cape Flats is, and how, for a guy like Marlin to step out of it and understand what climate change is doing and how it affects. Marlin teaches kids from under-privileged areas to understand and love the Ocean.”
The series begins with an interview with Sir Attenborough and features climate change allies in Africa, Thailand, India, Morocco, and Greenland, including Dame Jane Goodall, Jamal Edwards, Poppy Okotcha, Simon Amstell and more.
Harries explores some of the less-discussed issues around climate change such as equality, food and mental health and how each one is specifically impacted by climate change. He shows how those affected most by climate change are the poor.
“Being a surfer I’ve been to a lot of places around the world through Survivor and I’ve seen what plastic pollution, bleaching of reefs and what climate change has done. With the ocean being a large part of my life, this film resonated with me. It’s been a privilege for me to be part of this.”
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