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17th Annual “Off The Reef” Benefit Awards

Media contact: David Perry & Associates, Inc. (415) 676-7007 / 


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2: 5:30PM – 9PM (Awards at 7pm)

International Ocean Film Festival Gives “Ocean Champion” Awards to:

Dr. Sylvia Earle & Greta Thunberg
(Swedish Consul General Barbro Osher Accepts Award for Greta Thunberg)

Saturday, November 2: 5:30pm – 9pm +

+ 5:30pm reception
7pm: Awards
7:30pm: Dinner 

The Bently Reserve
301 Battery Street / San Francisco


As always, this year’s “Off The Reef” Fall Benefit  will feature sustainable, vegan food and drink, lively entertainment and pay tribute to those people whose lives and work reflect a commitment to ocean preservation This year, internationally acclaimed oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer, Dr. Sylvia Earle,84, will receive the Festival’s annual Ocean Champion Award—past awardees include Kip Evans, director of Expeditions for Mission Blue, Academy-Award winning director Louie Psihoyos of “The Cove” and Jeff Boehmn, Executive Director of The Marine Mammal Center.Swedish environmentalist and climate change activist Greta Thunberg,16, will be honored with the International Ocean Film Festival’s inaugural Next Generation Award, which recognizes extraordinary leadership from a young advocate raising environmental issues on a global stage. Accepting the award on her behalf will Swedish Consul General Barbro Osher.

About The Year’s Honorees:

Oceanographer,National Geographic explorerand founder of Mission Blue, Dr.Sylvia Earle is an American marine biologist and considered “The Godmother of ocean preservation” and the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Time Magazine named her as its first “Hero for the Planet” in 1998. Earle is also part of the elite group Ocean Elders, which is dedicated to protecting the ocean and its wildlife.

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish citizen who, in August 2018 and at age 15, began spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament demanding immediate action to combat modern-day climate change. Her “school strike for the climate” began attracting media attention and she has since become an outspoken climate activist.  In response to the publicity, her strike spread globally after the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December of last year. On 15 March 2019,an estimated 1.4 million students in 112 countries around the world joined her call in striking and protesting. A similar event involving students from 125 countries took place on 24 May 2019.  Thunberg has received various prizes and awards for her activism. In March 2019, three members of the Norwegian Parliament nominated Thunberg for the Nobel Peace r In May 2019, at the age of 16, she was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Some media have described her impact on the world stage as the “Greta Thunberg effect”. 

Commonly referred to as “The Sundance of ocean film festivals”, since its launch in 2004, the San Francisco-based International Ocean Film Festival has attracted thousands of spectators of all ages from around the world, including film enthusiasts, sea athletes, educators, and environmental supporters. Since then, the Festival has presented over 50 films from 15 different countries and featured post-film Q&A sessions with visiting filmmakers, special panel discussions with content experts, and the Annual Free Student Education Program. It was the first event of its kind in North America, inspired by the well-established ocean festival in Toulon, France, which has continued to draw large audiences for more than 40 years.

Current sponsors for the 17th Annual International Ocean Film Festival include National Marine Sanctuary, BigBus of San Francisco, Gray Line Tours, SSA, Alcatraz Cruises, the Port of San Francisco and Pacific Gas & Electric. 

The 17th Annual International Ocean Film Festival takes place March 12 – 15, 2020 at San Francisco’s Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture. The International Ocean Film Festival is a registered 501(c) 3 non-profit. and social at: