Posted by: janvozenilek | July 17, 2012

Midway Island, Albatross chicks and Bradley!

The Midway Film project has been a life changing experience for me.  I don’t think any of us on this team had any idea three years ago, that we would have the privilege to return there on multiple occasions and be part of documenting such an important global story.  We are filled with gratitude with having almost 1500 people around the world help us reach our Kickstarter fundraising goal. THANK YOU.  We are also thankful for the global audience of over 4.4 million, that have tuned into our trailer and been changed by the story.


As I now return from the latest expedition to the island, just as all the previous ones, I am filled with many mixed emotions.  I am in love with the stunning beauty and miracle of all the wildlife there. Especially the Albatrosses, which have been the subject of our entire project.  The complexity of their perfect design, their curiosity and their instinct to want to fly.  It’s truly a miracle.


But then there is the other side… facing the horror once again, of so many of the Albatross chicks dying, especially at this stage, when they are responding to their instinct to fledge the island and fly… to be free and live their life out over the ocean, like they were meant to.  Many won’t ever get that feeling and looking through the viewfinder many times over the past week, with my eyes filled with tears as we witnessed the precious life leave many of them, is really tough to bare.  But facing this head on is important and the feelings that come out of facing it head on, is really what creates that inner fuel inside each of us, to want to do something about it.

Chris Jordan shared with me at one point as were were riding in our golf cart on the island from one of our shooting locations… that it’s interesting to think that the Albatrosses don’t really know that this is happening to them. They don’t know that theses plastic items is what is taking the lives of so many of them.  That’s it’s really us that are the witness bearers of this on their behalf.


So as I sat there on Waikiki beach this morning, taking a couple hours between my flights on my way home, looking over the ocean and contemplating this past few weeks, I noticed an older gentleman, in the distance, slowly making his way along the beach toward me.  The beach was pretty full of people. He meandered between them… picking up any trash, litter, plastic… off the beach and putting it into an old plastic bag.  He was doing a beach clean up, by him self, on Waikiki beach in the middle of hundreds of people laying there enjoying the sun. Most people were staring in confusion.

As he approached and got closer, I suddenly filled with so much emotion…  as he walked by, I struggled to get my words out and asked him what he was doing.  He said that he was cleaning the beach…. that the cigarette butts, plastic straws and bottle caps kill the fish, the turtles and that he has do something about it.  I complimented him and shared a bit of my story, about Midway, the Albatrosses… he was shocked and had no idea.  I then asked if I could help him and he said yes, handed me an extra bag he had and off we went.

We spend about an hour walking a stretch of beach together, bending over every few steps, filling our bags, talking, sharing…  Bradley was his name, born in Hawaii, dark tanned skin, beautiful warm kind face and a big ocean lover.  He shared how it breaks his heart to see the waste left behind on the beaches by people. And he went further to connect the dots on how he doesn’t get why people buy and use all this single use crap, that ends up effecting our oceans and wildlife in this way.

In that short time we both completely filled two grocery bags. Mostly with cigarette butts, plastic straws, candy wrappers, bottle caps…  Bradley took the time to talk to a few people, that asked the same question that I did.

When it was time to say goodbye I asked him why he is doing this and how often.  He said that he’s been doing this by him self for three years, sometimes every single day.  That it makes him feel good to help the planet and that he might be just one person, but that he knows he is making a difference.

It was a profoundly moving experience to have met him and it gave me huge hope that there are other people out there that care about these issues and want to make a difference.  He is a rare breed of eco warriors that are doing the right thing, just for the sake of it being the right thing. There is no recognition, in fact most people probably thought what he was doing was weird. But they noticed… it engaged dialogue and probably made some people think about their habits in a deeper way.  At least I know it did for me.  Thank you Bradley!

*  Waikiki beach where we did the beach clean up.

* Some of the beach plastic we collected.

Posted by: janvozenilek | June 13, 2012

Greenwashing everywhere! Shame on you Alaska Airlines!!!

I just returned from a trip to Washington DC, where I had the privilege to share the Midway story at the Smithsonian Age of Plastic symposium.  The presentations by world leading experts on plastics were eye opening.  But no matter what we hear about all the benefits, in the medial industry, automobile industry and so on, we can’t lose sight of the fact that the oceans are filling up with this crap, killing wildlife and slowly poisoning our entire eco system and poisoning our selves.  But, as our film so vividly illustrates, it’s the ‘single use disposable plastic‘ that’s the biggest culprit and what we all need to focus on. We can do away without this material, all we need to do is wake up, become aware and simply make better choices with the produces we use, each and every day.


So that brings me to the flight home… I was so thrilled to see Alaska Airlines new initiative to ‘recycle’ all their plastic that is used on the plane. Their fancy writeup in the brochure gave me a sense of joy, that finally, even the airline industry, is coming to their senses, and starting to do something about the absolute insane amount of trash they generate each day.


The blurb in their brochure clearly states that they want us to ‘join them in their efforts to recycle and reduce waste’.   I’ve spend the last three years diligently researching the reality of what happens to the recycling of plastic.  The fact is that for the most part, it doesn’t exist!  A plastic water bottle or cup will never be turned back into the same item again. It gets DOWNCYCLED into other items, such as carpeting, materials for synthetic clothes and park benches… all that will one day end up in the landfill or our ocean anyway!  So this whole ‘recycling’ thing… with the three arrows going round and round, is a joke, and is simply designed to make you and I feel better, so that we just keep consuming!



‘REDUCING’ is the only answer to this whole thing… and having the courage to REFUSE it is even more important.  And Alaska Airlines gets it… I mean it’s in the tag line.. “reduce waste’.  So when it came time on my flight to get my refreshments from the flight attendants, I was absolutely blown away, when I kindly asked if she can pour some water into my reusable stainless steel water bottle, that she is NOT able to.  I asked why. She said they are not allowed. That she will gladly pour the water into a plastic cup and give me the cup and I can pour it into my bottle.


I almost fell out of my seat with shock when I was hearing this.  So here I am, trying to do the right thing by NOT contributing to the 1 ton of trash they supposedly recycle each day and I am not allowed to do so.  WHY?   In all my past Alaska Airlines flights it’s never been an issue, until this one.  The flight attendants were both cold and unfriendly and they were simply following the rules as idiotic and unreasonable they were!   And despite my objection to the plastic cup, she ended up pouring me one anyway and setting it down. I couldn’t believe it!!


One of the most exciting things about the Midway film, and the entire campaign that is going to follow (and that’s already underway), is that people around the world are on board with this powerful story. They get it! They get that they are in charge… in control and that they can change this!!   3.8 million people have watched the trailer…   people connect with it because it so ‘actionable’.  They’ve mobilized… all over the planet.. making change in their towns and countries….   And it’s all these people, together, that have the power to hold companies like Alaska Airlines accountable so that they actual DO the right thing, not just write about it in their glossy brochure and their website!



Posted by: janvozenilek | February 1, 2012

Midway Island – Midway V expedition

Where does the time go!? We are at it again… out team is on-route to Midway Island to continue work on our project.

The message of Midway, through the photos and videos our team has created over the past 2.5 years, have reached a global audience and we are so very humbled and honoured by the response.

Please keep an eye on our blog: where we will be updating regularly with lots of behind the scenes clips.

Will also also be doing a live LIVE-STREAM broadcast from Midway and will be posting the exact date and time on the blog. The live-stream link is here:

Our film site with the HD version of the trailer is here:

This project has become so dear to my heart and to the hearts of so many people.. It’s making a global impact.. and I feel so proud and privileged to be part of it. Join us and get on board… we are off to Save the World!!!   Click here:

Thank you all for your support and for following along.

With gratitude,


Posted by: janvozenilek | June 13, 2011

Midway Island – Midway Journey III summary

The third Midway expedition was unlike the previous two. This was the first time we had a chance to witness the innocence of the Albatross chicks. Their kind, gentle demeanor. Their love and curiosity. It was absolutely wonderful!

The bonding that our small team of passionate film makers and artist experienced, will last a lifetime. They all now feel like family. We laughed, we cried… and together shared the absolutely stunning beauty but also the tragic horror of this place.

For fourteen days, daily we were out with our cameras from sunrise to sunset. We were presented by some magical moments that could not be scripted. They just appeared in front of our lenses at the most perfect times… almost as if it was meant to be.

Daily we reviewed the footage we captured and were blown away by the images. We are so thrilled and excited to be able to share it all one day with the world.

As I leave this place, I am so very humbled and honoured to be part of this team and part of this project. It has been a life changing experience for me and I don’t take the responsibility of sharing the Midway message with the world lightly.

The deeper I sink into all of this, the more I realize that the message the heroic, iconic Albatross are bringing to Midway is much more about plastic….. it really is about each of us and the daily choices we make in our lives. It is about ALL our collective consumption of not only single use disposable plastics but really about everything.

Having that awareness that to go without, sometimes isn’t always a bad thing. Do we really need to take those free candies they bring us at the end of our meal in the restaurant, or use 3 napkins during our meal. Sure that coffee cup is made of paper, but it still had to be manufactured and shipped, only to be used for 10 minutes and discarded. Paper of plastic at the grocery store? How about neither?

Yes, the single use disposable plastic is the real tragedy but this thing is about way more then that!

One of the highlights for me during this past trip, was having Emily Chartrand join us. She is the next generation of eco warriors that will change the world. Please visit her amazing blog for some of her reflections of this experience. I am so thrilled to see Emily take this message of Midway and go share it with thousands of kids and people around the world.

This mission is far from over… in fact it’s just beginning. Please stay tuned and join us!

Thank you to Kris Krug for many of these fabulous images.

Posted by: janvozenilek | March 26, 2011

Midway Island – Midway Journey III expedition

With much excitement and anticipation, our team has returned to Midway Island for the third time.

In addition to Chris Jordan’s ongoing photographic work on the island, we are all collaborating in the creation of a documentary film about our experience, that we hope will bring the message of beauty and renewal to an audience of millions of people around the world.

Following the devastating earthquake in Japan last week, Midway was consequently hit with a tsunami, which killed over 110,000 albatross chicks and many other species of birds on the island. We’ve had the unique, unprecedented opportunity to witness the aftermath of this first hand.

The first few days of our trip have been full of wonder and surprise. The island is currently covered with hundreds of thousands baby Albatross chicks. They are these adorable little fluff-balls, covered in brown down feathers.

We’ve been busy filming from sunrise to sunset and the island has presented us with amazing pictures and experiences so far.

We’ve had another fabulous photographer, Kris Krug join us on this trip, and he’s been very busy taking tons of amazing behind the scenes shots. All these photos can be found on our Midway Journey Facebook page.

Also joining us on this trip is a grade 11 student from Penticton Secondary School, Emily Chartrand. Please check out her amazing blog

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