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Finalists Announced for 16th Annual International Ocean Film Festival March 7 -– 10, 2019

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Finalists Announced for 16th Annual International Ocean Film Festival
March 7 -– 10, 2019

Two Virtual Reality Films Offered for First Time at Festival 

7 February 2019 – San Francisco, CA: “One who was born by the ocean or has associated with it cannot ever be quite content away from it for very long,” wrote John Steinbeck in his classic The Log from the Sea of Cortez. For thefilmmakers and film lovers of the San Francisco-born International Ocean Film Festival (, the sea and its inspiration are never far away for very long. From March 7 – 10, for the 16th year, the acclaimed nonprofit festival dedicated to “saving our oceans, one film at a time” will bring the wonder of earth’s watery realm to scores of audience members with 55 films including four world premieres and four United States premieres by filmmakers from around the world, across the United States and right here in the Bay Area.
“Every day it becomes clearer that our oceans are under assault,” said Ana Blanco, Executive Director for the International Ocean Film Festival, noting that this year a record 148 films were submitted for consideration including for the first time, two films to be offered in virtual reality. “Every year, more and more people are inspired to action by the films that we present. We are very much a festival with a mission and passion for making a change.”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 on average over 50 films annually 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, Festival International du Film Maritime, which has continued to draw large audiences for more than 40 years. The International Ocean Film Festival is a registered 501(c) 3 non-profit.

Sponsors for the 16th Annual International Ocean Film Festival include National Marine Sanctuaries, the Canadian Consulate of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, BigBus of San Francisco, SSA, RBC Wealth Management, Port of San Francisco, Alcatraz Cruises, San Francisco Magazine, and Hyatt Hotels, the Premiere Hotel Sponsor for the Festival. 

Below, the chronological schedule of films for the 16th International Ocean:

Thursday, March 7 at 4 pm – Program #1 Presented by NOAA

  • Living with the Oceans, Nicky Milne* (United Kingdom) 17 min 
  • Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies, Michael Hanrahan (USA) 8 min 
  • China: Caging the Ocean’s Wild, Steve Chao (Malaysia) 26 min
  • Coral: Glimmer of Hope, Gaelin Rosenwaks* (USA) 9 min – World Premiere 
  • For the Love of the Reef, Alan E Franks (USA) 7 min – West Coast Premiere 
  • The Final Breach, Jess Webster (United Kingdom) 17 min – U.S. Premiere 

Thursday, March 7 at 7pm – Program #2 – OPENING NIGHT
 Presented by the Consulate General of Canada 

  • Near Miss, Josh Berry* (USA) 12 min – Bay Area Premiere 
  • Sharkwater Extinction, Rob Stewart (Canada) 87 min – Bay Area Premiere 


Friday, March 8 at 1pm – Program #3 Presented by the Port of San Francisco 

  • Wake Up, Haydn Fischer* (USA) 2 min
  • The Adventures of Zack and Molly, Jim Toomey (USA) 11 min – Bay Area Premiere 
  • Blue Carbon: A Story from the Snohomish Estuary, Benjamin Drummond, Sara Joy Steele (USA) 6 min
  • Master of the Turbulence, Steven Albert*, Mary Albert (USA) 8 min
  • Dispatches from the Gulf 2: Research, Innovation, Discovery, Hal Weiner (USA) 57 min – Bay Area Premiere 

Friday, March 8 at 4 pm – Program #4 – Sponsored by the SF / Kiel, Germany Sister City Program

  • Hybrids, Florian Brauch (Germany) 5 min
  • Plankton, Gustaf Lindstrom (United Kingdom) 6 min – U.S. Premiere 
  • Sailor’s Delight Louise Aubertin (Germany) 8 min
  • Fragile – Why turtle hatchlings need the sea, Hendrik and Claudia Schmitt* (Germany) 8 min – Bay Area Premiere 
  • Dolphin Man, Lefteris Charitos (Greece) 82 min

Friday, March 8 at 4 pm, (Smith Rafael Film Center(1118 4th Street, San Rafael)

Program #1

  • The Blues Crab, Ari Rubenstein* (USA) 14 min – Bay Area Premiere 
  • Manry at Sea: In the Wake of a Dream, Steve Wystrach** (USA) 94 min – Bay Area Premiere 
  • Deep Look – Watch these Cunning Snails Stab and Swallow Fish Whole, Elliott Kennerson (USA) 5 min

Friday, March 8 at 7 pm – Program #5 – SURFING PROGRAM

  • City Surf Project, Oscar Guerra (USA) 11 min
  • Paige, Bjarne Salen (USA) 22 min
  • Beyond the Noise, Andrew Kaineder (Australia) 38 min – West Coast Premiere 
  • Under an Arctic Sky, Chris Burkard (USA) 40 min


Saturday, March 9 at 10am – Program #6
Presented by BigBus San Francisco 

  • The Ocean’s Message, Cynthia Abbott* & Andrea Leland (USA) 5 min
  • The Salty Generations, Shaun Wolfe*, Shelby Oliver (USA) 8 min
  • Whitehall, Wendy Schuss* (USA) 9 min 
  • The Swimmer, Thomas Beug (Ireland) 12 min
  • Water Warrior, Monica Medellin* (USA) 4 min
  • Beach Watch, Mary Jane Schramm* (USA) 5 min – World Premiere 
  • Surviving in the Lagoon, Gil Kebaili, Manuel Lefevre (France) 53 min – U.S. Premiere 

Saturday, March 9 at 1 pm – Program #7 SHARK PROGRAM
Presented by Alcatraz Cruises

  • Near Miss, Josh Berry* (USA) 12 min – Bay Area Premiere 
  • Farallon Patrol: Feeding the Devil’s Teeth, Paul McManus*, Kylie West, Chris Winn (USA) 10 min
  • The Angel’s Secrets, Elodie Turpin (Canada) 27 min – West Coast Premiere 
  • 700 Sharks, Luc Marescot (France) 93 min – West Coast Premiere 

Saturday, March 9 at 1:30pm Roxie Theatre (3117 16th Street, San Francisco)

Program #1 

  • Bahía, Santiago Ramirez (Colombia) 8 min
  • Deep Time, Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen (Portugal) 10 min
  • New Caledonia, Mother of the Coral Sea, Shawn Heinrichs (New Caledonia) 14 min
  • Scars – Politics in the Big Blue, Karin Hartman (Netherlands) 65 min

Saturday, March 9 at 4pm – Program #8

  • Diving Surge Narrows, Grant Callegari, Tavish Campbell (Canada) 4 min
  • Defending The Deep, Will Parrinello* (USA) 6 min
  • Colors of Change, Jenny Nichols (USA) 22 min
  • Deep Look – Whack! Jab! Crack! It’s a Blackback Land Crab Smackdown, Elliott Kennerson (USA) 5 min
  • Call of the Baby Beluga, Suzanne Chisholm, Michael Parfit (Canada) 52 min

Saturday, March 9 at 7pm – Program #9
Presented by SSA

  • Wake Up, Haydn Fischer* (USA) 2 min
  • Deep Look – This Adorable Sea Slug is a Sneaky Little Thief, Joshua Cassidy* (USA) 5 min
  • A Feather to Kill, Hardy Jones**, Uli Ploefner (USA) 48 min – World Premiere 

Saturday, March 9 at 7pm – (Smith Rafael Film Center 1118 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901) Program #2

  • Every Nine Minutes, DJ O’Neil, Oliver Hamilton*, (USA) 4 min – World Premiere 
  • Chasing The Thunder, Mark Benjamin*, Marc Levin (USA) 96 min


Sunday, March 10 at 10 am – Program #10

  • Student Film Competition (full schedule TBD)

Sunday, March 10 at 1pm – Program #11

  • The Lives of Wild Dolphins, Jim Knowlton* (USA) 7 min 
  • Wakes, Lea Rinaldi (France) 90 min

Sunday, March 10 at 4 pm – Program #12
Presented by RBC Wealth Management 

  • The Blessed Assurance, Isabelle Carbonell** (USA) 22 min
  • The Southern Right Whale, Kevin Zaouali (Argentina) 21 min – West Coast Premiere 
  • Lobster War: The Fight Over The World’s Richest Fishing Grounds, David Abel* (USA) 74 min – West Coast Premiere

Special Virtual Reality Program – (Fort Mason Firehouse)

Sunday, March 10 10am – 2pm

  • 360 Coral Reefs – Life below the surface, Hendrik and Claudia Schmitt* (Germany) 6 min – U.S. Premiere  (Virtual Reality Screening)

Join us on a journey through the Coral Triangle and its magnificent coral reefs. These underwater gardens boast the largest biodiversity of life on Earth, but as the planet keeps warming, our oceans are changing. Coral bleaching, ocean acidification, overfishing and pollution are threatening the world’s coral reefs and their fragile ecosystems. Experience the underwater world and learn about today’s urgency to protect our reefs.

  • IMMERSE: A Story of Science, Love and Magic in the Ocean, Erika Woolsey PhD*, Jason McGuigan, Rick Mistiv (USA) 9 min (Virtual Reality Screening) WORLD PREMIERE

Immerse is a live-action 360º 3D journey that takes you to the tropical Pacific, where you explore coral reefs, see manta rays do back-flips, watch sharks glide by, and join scientists as they study how the reef is changing.

* Filmmaker expected in attendance

**Film representative expected in attendance