‘Atlantic’ follows the fortunes of three fishing communities united and divided by the Atlantic Ocean, as they struggle to maintain their way of life despite mounting challenges within their own industry and environment. On both sides of the Atlantic, new hydrocarbon frontiers are pushing out into deeper water, and further north into the Arctic, posing serious threats from the oil and gas explorers.. The film charts the politics of resource management of the North Atlantic, from strong state control in Norway, mixed fortunes in Newfoundland, to a more liberal, privatised system in Ireland. ‘Atlantic’, through the experience of these coastal neighbours poses the question: who benefits from the exploitation of these resources. Filming at close quarters with those at the epicenter of the resources issue, and in some of the most dramatic and harsh settings in the North Atlantic, we will bring their story to a worldwide audience.
‘Atlantic’ is a transatlantic co-production with Newfoundland, Norway and Ireland, and a follow-up to our 2010 documentary ‘The Pipe’; the story of one Irish fishing villages’ battle with the oil giant Shell. When director Risteard Ó Domhnaill began investigating the forces at play behind the driving of a gas pipeline through the isolated West of Ireland community of Rossport, he discovered that other small communities right across the North Atlantic were facing similar challenges and feeling similarly powerless.
As oil exploration companies move into position off our coasts, and huge ‘factory’ trawlers force small fishermen off their fishing grounds, we question the silence and inaction of the Irish governments. What control is the state taking in this concerted drive to capitalise on Ireland’s offshore oil and gas potential, and why is it so different from other parts of the North Atlantic. From the perspective of fishermen in resource rich Norway and Newfoundland we experience their interactions with government and the oil companies. Not all is as good as it seems from afar, though, and the small fishing communities in Lofoten(Norway) and Fermeuse (NFL) are feeling the strain from the growing reach of the oil industry. Despite problems, as other Atlantic provinces grow rich from strict State ownership of their resources, Ireland is increasingly at the mercy of outside influences who already control most of her oil and fishing wealth. The battle over what lies beneath the Atlantic Ocean is heating up. Yet it is happening out of public sight and out of public mind.