A documentary released this week on YouTube channel 101Visions tells the story of a British man who founded an eco-resort and research station on a remote Indonesian island, and the impact this has had on the world’s most diverse marine ecosystem.
The Last Resort follows Andrew Miners, who decided to build the Misool Eco-Resort in Raja Ampat after discovering an idyllic beach littered with the remnants of a shark finning camp. Starting with no experience apart from a keen interest in conservation, he has built a sustainable luxury resort consisting of over 30 buildings, with the help of nearby islanders, his wife Marit, and German carpenter Thorbin.
Raja Ampat is described by Conservation International as the “epicentre of marine biodiversity for the planet,” and 24 new species of fish have been discovered in the vicinity in just a five-year period. The film shows how Andrew and his team have built relationships with neighbouring islands, community leaders and local government to establish support for fishing exclusion zones in the region.
Common issues that are now being policed by Misool rangers include shark finning, cyanide and dynamite fishing, and the hunting of turtles and their eggs. In one sequence from the film, the team rescue a deep sea fish that has swollen and risen to the surface, possibly as a result of a dynamite explosion on the seabed.
Ramsay James, Director of The Last Resort, said: “I have known Andrew Miners for over 20 years and his story, with the communities around Misool, is a great example of a visionary project. The story just had to be told. For every one Andrew Miners and Misool, there are thousands of other inspiring stories out there, waiting to be discovered, and to bear their fruit.
"As well as the filming challenges of this far flung corner of the world, the big challenge with feature documentaries is funding them. The Last Resort got funded, and we are thrilled to be offering this film for all to watch on our 101visions channel.”
Daren Howarth, of 101Visions, said: “We’re delighted to bring this important feature documentary to a wider audience. Our mission as a channel - telling the stories of projects bringing business and nature together – is mainly met through ultra-short micro-documentaries, with great projects on modest budgets. So it’s a real pleasure to have the luxury of a funded feature. The Last Resort is a truly inspiring story, and illustrates a great example of how business based on tourism can operate sustainably, align with conservation, and make a real difference in the world.”
The Last Resort was originally screened at a number of international film festivals, including:
• Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
• Awareness Film Festival
• Colorado Environmental Film Festival
• Green Unplugged Film Festival
You can watch the full film here.