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International Ocean Film Festival Home Edition Now Available Online through April 12

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

“Bringing the Ocean to your Couch”

International Ocean Film Festival Home Edition
Now Available Online through April 12 

1 April 2020 – San Francisco, CA: The International Ocean Film Festival often called “Sundance for the Ocean” brings the ocean to your couch with its  “Home Edition” online at through April 12.

“Specially curated from the 2020 International Ocean Film Festival and prior, we’ve gathered a range of films from you, from Johannasburg to the Galapagos Island to Borneo,” said Ana Blanco, Executive Director for the International Ocean Film Festival. “During this ‘pause’ while we are all staying home, share with your friends these incredible films so we can still stay connected through our love of the Ocean.”

Originally scheduled for March of this year, the 17th Annual International Ocean Film Festival has been postponed in light of the COVID-19 health emergency. A future date for the festival in San Francisco will be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we all may not be able to get to the ocean right now,” said Blanco, “we decided to bring the ocean to you!”

For the 2020 Festival, 160 submissions were received from around the world, including films from the USA, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Turkey, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, South Korea, Madagascar and South Africa. The list includes films of all genres – documentaries, narratives, shorts, and animation films of all lengths. As always, the Festival focuses on all ocean centric themes including but not limited to: ocean exploration, wildlife, environmental, conservation, oceanography, seafaring adventures, maritime issues, ocean sports and coastal cultures.

In order to fulfill its conservation mission, and in addition to screening films, the International Ocean Film Festival has aligned itself with the Ocean Unite’s #Love30x30 initiative to bring more awareness to this global effort. #Love30x30 is a call to action to safeguard at least 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030 through a network of highly protected marine areas where no destructive or extractive activities like fishing or mining can take place.

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 activists. Since then, the Festival has presented over 600 films from 50 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, the Consul General of Canada, Blue and Gold Ferry, RBC Wealth Management, Heidrick & Struggles, Pacific Gas & Electric and Troutman Sanders LLC.

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. A new date for the entire 17th Annual International Ocean Film Festival will be announced in a few weeks.

Below is a full list of the films in the “At Home International Ocean Film Festival”

Song of the Spindle
Drew Christie | USA | 4 min
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. 

Protecting Blue Skies and Blue Whales
Michael Hanrahan | USA | 8 min
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! 

Fragile – Why Turtle Hatchlings Need the Sea
Hendrik and Claudia Schmitt | Germany | 8 min
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. 

Street Surfers
Arthur Neumeier | South Africa | 9 min
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.

Alice in Borneo’s Wonderland
David McGuire | USA | 11 min
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.

Spinnaker Documentary
Nadine Licostie | USA | 14 min
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
Ryan Peterson | USA | 25 min
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’.

Galapagos Evolution
Roberto Ochoa | Ecuador | 32 min
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.

Dick Ogg: Fisherman
Cynthia Abbott | USA | 9 min
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.

Ocean Stories: Greg Stone
Casey Acaster | USA | 31 min
“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.