ad ad ad ad


Q&A with Tim Hochgrebe, Festival Organiser

So what was the inspiration for an Australasia-wide shoot out?

The idea really came from the desire to grow the current format of the Underwater Festival into an event with global recognition, an event that gets new divers involved and an event that has real positive consequences for our marine environment, both on the financial and educational level.

A shoot out of this scale has not been done before, what were major challenges as festival organiser in 2011?

There were many challenges including technological issues associated with huge amounts of data being submitted over a short amount of time and the judging of huge amounts of photographs. There were issues with ensuring a code of conduct is adhered to when it comes to underwater photography and videography. Of course verification of the validity of entries on a number of levels was a major challenge as there is no centralised data vault that other shoot-outs can offer. The list of challenges still remains huge, but I believe nothing that can not be overcome, which is why we will continue running this event for years to come.

What sort of experience do you envisage UF12 participants having?

I want people to feel that they are part of creating a snapshot of the underwater beauty but also the issues of our amazing region and I want people to have lots of fun. The social aspect of the Underwater Festival has always been an important element of the event and by allowing any operator in the area to create their own 'Fringe' Underwater Festival events, the social aspect will remain a key focus.

Was the 'Australasia Challenge' in 2011 a one-off event or will this be how the Underwater Festival will operate from now on?

This format will be the new annual format of the Underwater Festival into the future. Of course any new ideas are always appriceated and the future of anything is never set in stone.

Do you think it's possible for an event like the Underwater Festival to be too big?

I believe the fact that people can participate wherever they are in Australasia will never make it feel too big and the potential for massive participation without overcrowding is part of the concept of this new format of the Underwater Festival. Like an underwater Earth Hour, I would like to see 1,000s of people participate, share and help to highlight what needs to be seen by not just divers, the beauty and fragility of our oceans and the life within.

With thousands of entries to be submitted online, how will you police entries to ensure they were taken during the month of the shoot out?

There are many ways this can be achieved and some of the procedures will remain totally secret so that no advance planning of cheating can happen. I can not go into detail on this point as naturally this is very important to the integrity of the event. Of course we hope that the number of people that will try to cheat in the Underwater Festival shootout will be very minimal, but rest assured there will be measures in place to find out the ones that try and those individuals will be publicly exposed.

Do entrants have to participate in Fringe Events or can they simply go out and shoot with a buddy?

Participants can dive anywhere in over 20 countries and across two hemispheres as long as they are diving during the designated shootout period 1-30 September 2012. Your favourite backyard dive, a fancy trip to a dive resort you always wanted to go, one of the many Festival Fringe Events that will be offered, the choice is theirs. We want to make it possible for anybody with any budget to participate.

What if a dive shop, dive club or individual wants to host a Fringe Event?

They can contact us and discuss their ideas. There a number of criteria that have to be met to become an official Fringe Event host, most of which relate to cross-promoting the event. We encourage every dive shop, resort, liveaboard or dive club to consider this as an exciting option for their 2012 calendar and the possibility for their customers or members to be part of this new event and share in over $100,000 in prizes. This is a win-win proposition for everyone that wants to get involved.