by Jenna Kretzmann
Pippa Ehrlich is the co-writer, editor, and director of My Octopus Teacher (2020), South Africa’s first original Netflix documentary which went on to win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2021.
Ehrlich graduated with a BJourn in 2009, specialising in television, and then began her career as a researcher and production assistant at Flying Fish productions. Here she helped produce several award-winning investigative television pieces for Carte Blanche.
Following this, Ehrlich freelanced, taught English in Thailand, and worked as a conservation journalist and media co-ordinator for the Save Our Seas Foundation. Her work specialised in the field of marine science and conservation, with a particular interest in the intersection between people and the natural world.
Since 2017, she has produced ground-breaking work for the Sea Change Project, a community of scientists, storytellers, journalists and filmmakers who are dedicated to protecting South Africa’s marine environment. It is here that Pippa spearheaded My Octopus Teacher. In addition to the Octopus Oscar, her work has been recognised via myriad prestigious awards and nominations including, a British Academy Film Award (Bafta) for Best Documentary, and an American Cinema Editors Award for Best Edited Documentary.
Ehrlich continues to explore the underwater forests off the coast of Cape Town and works tirelessly for the conservation of our oceans as editor of Sea Change: Primal Joy and the Art of Underwater Tracking, she is involved in yet another project that has attracted the attention of celebrities, conservationists and scientists, and has already received multiple international awards. This book charts a re-discovery of seaforest life with text and photographs of luscious beauty.
For her trailblazing work in making documentaries and for her commitment to ocean conservation as a South African environmental journalist, we honour Pippa Ehrlich as a JMS50 Alumni Award winner.