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Studio portrait photograph of Craig Leeson.

Documentary filmmaker and journalist
Tasmania | 2022 Australian of the Year

Craig Leeson is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, television presenter and entrepreneur. He is CEO of Leeson Media International and Ocean Vista Films and founder of the I Shot Hong Kong Film Festival.

In 2017 Craig released his first feature-length documentary, A Plastic Ocean. Viewed around the world, it helped provide impetus for global action to save our oceans from plastic pollution. Craig’s latest film, The Last Glaciers, looks at the impact of climate change.

Craig co-founded A Plastic Ocean Foundation and is an adviser to Plastic Oceans International, non-profit organisations dedicated to stopping plastic pollution by changing consumer behaviour, corporate practices and public policy. He is also a sustainability partner for BNP Paribas and an adviser to the Klosters Forum, a community of experts and leaders focused on positive environmental change.

Everything is connected

I grew up around the ocean and it moulded the way I think about the environment in general, as well as how I interact with other species. I realised from an early age that everything on planet Earth is interlinked, and that none of us can survive without the other. Each ecosystem is a finely balanced instrument. Once we upset that, we create problems.

Holding onto hope

It’s very important that people don’t feel doomed. Each of us is connected to the plastic we use and we’re all responsible for what we use and how we use it. Plastic is the most durable material ever manufactured and every piece ever produced is still on the planet in some shape or form. Think about that – and then think about future generations.

My hero

I have seen every David Attenborough documentary ever made, so a professional highlight was working with him. For Sir David Attenborough – the greatest documentary filmmaker – to say that A Plastic Ocean is the most important film of our time, that for me is remarkable.

This exhibition was developed by the National Museum of Australia in collaboration with the National Australia Day Council. Portrait images supplied by the National Australia Day Council.

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