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Epiphany Nominated “Best Documentary Feature”

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Epiphany is a true story about love, autism, nature, passion, fear, determination, perseverance and making daunting choices in life. Ellen Cuylaerts, mother and award winning internationally renowned wildlife photographer, is afraid of water but sets out to conquer that fear over and over again to help the environment.

Early in her marriage, Ellen — master in history and education, former Cisco engineer, and e-commerce founder — is trapped between the peculiar situation her children and husband are and the mainstream expectations of social peers. Fighting an exhausting battle, mainly against ignorance and prejudice, she finds relief in a piece of paper: the diagnosis of autism in her husband and two children. Armed with evidence and facts, she can start educating her surroundings. Although making remarkable progress with her loved ones, she realizes along the way that the core issue would never disappear: society will not accept nor understand ‘being different’. Thus Ellen and her husband Michael decide to move away from their busy social life and settle down at the other end of the world, close to nature: Grand Cayman.

Living near the ocean, Ellen starts diving and pursues her old passion, photography, though this time underwater. Early on she  understands the power of images and social media to bring environmental awareness to the public. As such emerges her mission to show the public the in-depth beauty of sharks and her battle to refute the allegation that sharks are a danger to humans.

In search for the “key” to communicate with people affected by autism, she discovers similarities with animals in the wild.  Could that key help her to navigate her loved ones through society? Will it allow her to connect to those large predators she welcomes in front of her lens?

Upcoming festivals for Epiphany are:

  • CayFilm – Nominated “Best Local Filmmaker”
  • Love International Film Festival – Nominated “Best Documentary Feature”
  • ADEX China – Selected “Feature Film”

Learn more at: www.epiphany.movie


Blue Horizon

About Author

Michael Maes is a wildlife filmmaker, specialized in big animals and animal behavior. His portfolio (both underwater and topside) covers the polar regions, temperate waters and the tropics. He has a passionate interest for polar bears and Arctic whales. Though stemming from a past in IT, he passionately diversified to cinematography in 2012. His work has been broadcast on various national television, Nat Geo Wild, Outside Television, CBC and received recognition at numerous international film festivals. Michael recognized the impact of storytelling through pictures and film and uses this platform to create awareness of the remarkable wildlife realm to the broad public. At the heart of his films is showing people the beauty and fragility of this blue planet, from the depths of the warm waters to the white vastness of the polar regions. Michael produces films with integrity, serving to both educate and inform the general public about environmental issues dear to him. Seeking to remain at the forefront of cutting edge technology, he chooses RED cameras and Zeiss cinema lenses to capture the perfection of nature under optimum conditions. Although he advocates it is not "the camera taking the picture” but "the person behind the camera", he also believes technology by itself is an additional tool for filmmakers. In 2015 Michael was inducted as cinematographer in the Ocean Artists Society (www.oceanartistssociety.org), an organization uniting artists worldwide to raise awareness and protect the marine environment through art. Michael is also a founding Navigator of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (www.reefresearch.org), a leading scientific research centre in the Caribbean focusing on coral reef restoration, research on coral resilience, and ocean education.

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