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Cristina Mittermeier Honored as 2020 “Ocean Champion” at Waves to Recovery: International Ocean Film Festival 2020 Virtual Fall Benefit

Cristina Mittermeier Honored as 2020 “Ocean Champion” at Waves to Recovery: International Ocean Film Festival
2020 Virtual Fall Benefit

Thursday, December 10 at 6pm (PST)
Evening Produced by Beyond Pix Studios
Emcee David Eugene Perry partners with Celeb Auctioneer Franco Finn

FREE registration at this link:

8 December 2020 – San Francisco, CA.  It seems fitting that Cristina Mittermeier who PBS’ Nova hailed for “changing the world one photograph at a time” should be the recipient of this year’s “Ocean Champion Award” from the San Francisco-based International Ocean Film Festival ( motto is, “Saving the world’s oceans, one film at time.”  Co-founder and Managing Director of SeaLegacy, co-founder of Only One and Executive Producer of Echoes in the Arctic, Mittemeier has traveled to more than 100 countries and worked in remote corners of the planet with Indigenous groups to document the delicate balance between human cultures and biodiverse ecosystems.  The first woman photographer to reach 1 million followers on Instagram will be honored on Thursday, December 10 at 6pm (PST) at the Waves to Recovery virtual benefit. The evening includes a silent auction advanced exclusive sneak film previews for the 18th Annual film festival and a cocktail hour hosted by a local celebrity mixologist, Pete Sittnick of Waterbar Restaurant on San Francisco’s Waterfront. Proceeds from the evening will support the Festival’s Free Online Ocean Education Program, providing ocean inspired films and curricula to more than 5,000 young students across the Bay Area and throughout California. Produced by Beyond Pix Studios of San Francisco, the evening is emceed by long-time communications pro, TV personality and author David Eugene Perry with the celebrity auctioneer stylings of Franco Finn known to legions of fans for his work with the Golden State Warriors and dozens of charities.

“Being recognized as a 2020 Ocean Champion at the 18th Annual Ocean International Film Festival is a privilege and an honor. Acknowledgements like this create both excitement and credibility to the work that so many people are doing to advocate for the ocean,” says Mittermeier. “Storytelling through imagery is one of the most powerful ways to engage people around the world to participate in the creation of healthy and abundant oceans. We are all ocean people, and when we connect on an emotional level, we can move from a place of apathy into one of active participation.”

Past recipients of the Ocean Champion Award includelegendary oceanographer and marine activist Dr. Sylvia Earle, Kip Evans, director of Expeditions for Mission Blue, Academy-Award winning director Louie PsihoyosJeff Boehmn, Executive Director of the Marine Mammal Center and Swedish environmentalist and climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

Waves to Recovery  represents our undaunted effort to inspire advocacy for our oceans. It’s about the hope we share,” said Ana Blanco, Executive Director for the Festival. “Together, we will restore our ocean’s biodiversity, health, relevance, respect and accessibility for all. Our commitment remains stronger than ever. Cristina’s tireless efforts are an example of such a commitment and an inspiration to us all.”

Mittermeier received her undergraduate degree in marine biology from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico in 1989. She married Dr. Russell Mittermeier in 1991 and the two of them moved to Great Falls, Virginia. It is with him that she has coauthored several books. Prior to becoming a professional photographer, she conducted fieldwork in the Gulf of California and the Yucatan Peninsula in subjects including marine mammals, fisheries, aquaculture, biodiversity research and conservation, resulting in publications in scientific journals. Her images focus on demonstrating the important relationship between human cultures, especially indigenous people and biodiversity. In 2005, Mittermeier created the International League of Conservation Photographers. In 2008, she was named one of Sony’s Artisans of Imagery

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 560 films from 40 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 upcoming 18th Annual International Ocean Film Festival include National Marine Sanctuary, the Consul General of Canada, RBC Wealth Management, Pacific Gas & Electric, and  RingCentral.

The International Ocean Film Festival encourages its patrons, supporters and partners to follow the most current advice from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization for preventing the further spread of the COVID-19 in Northern California and beyond, and to stay tuned for announcements about International Ocean Film Festival events once the threat level is reduced. The 18th Annual International Ocean Film Festival is currently scheduled to take place as a hybrid event, both in-person at Cowell Theater in Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, as allowed by health officials and virtually online on April 16 – 30, 2021 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: 

Franco Finn is in his 19th Season as the In-Arena MC and TV Personality for the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. Known as the “Warriors Hype Man” at Oracle Arena and now the new Chase Center in San Francisco, he performs live in front of 20,000+ fans each night.  Franco’s job is to energize and entertain the crowds and his responsibilities include introducing the team’s starting lineup, hosting the pre-game show “Warriors TV” and conducting all the contests and promos at the Arena.  Also, Franco is currently a segment host on KRON 4 TV and freelances as an MC/host for the San Francisco Giants’ special events for the past 11 seasons. He is a local and national MC, hosting a variety of sporting events from NASCAR to Red Bull’s extreme sports events.  His previous stints include being an on-air personalty and host for TV and Radio for CBS, Comcast SportsNet, the Oakland Raiders (NFL Network), KOFY-TV, Radio Disney, KGO AM 810, and guest appearances on ESPN Radio.  Franco  s also a professional auctioneer and graduated from the prestigious Mendenhall School of Auctioneering in North Carolina, and also holds the Benefit Auctioneer Specialist designation (B.A.S.) from the National Auctioneer Association (NAA). He’s been involved in a multitude of fundraising and corporate events for various high-profile companies to non-profits.  He has worked with some of the most recognized non-profit charities and organizations from the American Red Cross, March of Dimes, The Ronald McDonald House, the Boys & Girls Clubs, the YMCA, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, just to name a handful, helping to raise millions of dollars and counting, in his career! 

David Eugene Perry is the founder/CEO of David Perry & Associates, Inc ( a full service Marketing/PR, Government Affairs & Business Development firm with international reach based in San Francisco and Palm Springs. Perry is a recipient of an “Outstanding Business Award” from the SF Business Arts Council. He is a member of the San Francisco/Cork, Ireland Sister City Committee, the Golden Gate Business Association and the Desert Business Association. Perry is the co-founder of the non-profit /all volunteer Rainbow Honor Walk and the creator of “10 Percent”, the longest running LGBT TV show in California history and hosts the popular online interview show “Ahoy!”. He is the author of the just released critically-acclaimed best-selling mystery thriller Upon This Rock from Pace Press and a frequent lecturer on communications and social media.

About Beyond Pix Studios:
Beyond Pix SF Studios ( for over 25 years has been providing complete video production services and support to the production community, broadcasters, public relations and corporate communication professionals in and outside of San Francisco. Their broadcast, live stream, production and post facility is located at 950 Battery Street – a short walk north of San Francisco’s financial district.  With two broadcast insert studios, a purpose-built video production and live stream stage, post-productions edit suites and in-house neighbors that specialize in audio post and color correction Beyond Pix is on the cutting edge of contemporary video and online production.