2020 International Ocean Film Festival

2020 International Ocean Film Festival

2020 International Ocean Film Festival

Courtesy of International Ocean Film Festival, San Francisco, California.

The International Ocean Film Festival postponed its 17th annual film festival scheduled for March 12th – 15th in San Francisco, California due to the current status of the COVID-19 virus.

The film festival will be held at a later date this year. The organizers announced, “Our mission is to save our oceans one film at a time. Since our inception in 2004, each year the Festival features a 4-day ocean engagement event for audiences from around the world. Through the power of visual storytelling and independent films, audiences of all ages are inspired to become better ocean stewards, and help to protect our oceans.

As a year-round ocean conservation organization, we are proud to present films and post-screening discussions with film directors, producers and leading industry experts throughout the year

The selections include:

* SONG OF THE SPINDLE by Drew Christie: An animated inter-species conversation that leads to a neuron found in the brains of humans and whales that makes us capable of compassion, whether we use it, or not.

* STREET SURFERS by Arthur Neumeier: A pro surfer, Frank Solomon from Cape Town, meets two young men in Johannesburg known as “street surfers” who comb the streets for recyclables to make a living. Their unsung efforts just to survive, helps reduce plastics in the ocean. Inspired, Frank, also an avid ocean activist, decides to show them the ocean for the first time. An inspirational story of friendship and how two seemingly different worlds can be connected.

* PROTECTING BLUE SKIES AND BLUE WHALES by Michael Hanrahan: As international shipping increases, so do ship-strike deaths among endangered whales. Vessel fuel emissions foul the air, putting us at risk, too. But NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program, working with state agencies, whale experts, and maritime transport firms anxious to make our seas safer and our skies cleaner, have voluntarily slowed vessels passing through “whale territory:” This could prove an enduring commerce-conservation partnership!

* ALICE IN BORNEO’S WONDERLAND by David McGuire: Alice, a sixteen-year-old aspiring biologist, learns to SCUBA dive off the coast of Malaysian Borneo and discovers a wondrous world. With the help of Shark Steward instructors she learns to respect the key predators of that astonishing world – the sharks, endangered worldwide because of shark finning. Her next step is to share with other students her new knowledge about the importance of protecting the oceans.

* FRAGILE – WHY TURTLE HATCHLINGS NEED THE SEA by Hendrik and Claudia Schmitt: Sea turtles are the most endangered group of pelagic vertebrates with 86% (6 of 7 species) threatened with extinction. In the natural scheme of life, only one in 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings will survive to maturity. Turtle conservationist Sian Williams of the Gili Eco Trust in Indonesia explains how the impacts of egg poaching, habitat destruction, and even the inadvertent effects of human assistance threaten them.

* SPINNAKER DOCUMENTARY by Nadine Licostie: The crab season was delayed this year from concern about whales getting entangled in the ropes. The concern is serious. During her lifetime, the humpback whale, “Spinnaker,” became entangled three times over 11 years. Each time dedicated teams of fisherfolk and biologists quickly and carefully came to her defense. But it was not enough; her skeleton tells the story.

* SUPER SALMON by Ryan Peterson: Ah, the salmon! Perhaps the most famous of fish, it is best known for its healthy omega-three nutrients, but do people realize what is at stake for salmon to survive in the wilderness? With a gorgeous Alaskan backdrop, we follow one amazing salmon on his long journey up the Sustina River, only to run into a government proposed dam that threatens its life. Along the way we meet those who are helping protect both their way of life and the salmons’.

* DICK OGG: FISHERMAN by Cynthia Abbott: The ocean is his life and his delight. Dick Ogg fishes for a living; but whales do, too – often, in the same spot and whale entanglements in Dungeness crab gear can be the result. Dick discusses how his lifetime at sea has taught him that with collaboration, ingenuity, and much hard work, fisherfolk can help prevent lethal gear interactions, and still land their catch.

* GALAPAGOS EVOLUTION by Roberto Ochoa: Led by Pierre Cousteau, son of the legendary Jacques Cousteau, a group of internationally famous free-divers explore biodiversity in the cradle of evolutionary theory: the Galapagos Islands. Adventure, excitement and a respectful interaction with ocean wildlife reveal the gentle elegance of hammerhead sharks, gliding manta rays and other marine megafauna, demonstrating the way toward co-existence and saving our oceans.

* OCEAN STORIES: GREG STONE by Casey Acaster: “The Ocean is telling us it doesn’t need us, we need it. And we better stop abusing it…. Our condition is far more vulnerable.” Greg Stone reminisces about his life as an ocean scientist, explorer and marine conservationist. His romantic fascination with the ocean as a young boy became his life work. Now that science has identified the ocean’s problems, Stone challenges us to find a solution.

Steven Munatones