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International Ocean Film Festival Present Bay Area Premiere: Chasing the Thunder 

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International Ocean Film Festival Present Bay Area Premiere 

Chasing the Thunder 

Thursday, August 23, 6pm -9pm at the Cowell Theatre

Controversial “Sea Shepherd” Ocean Activists Paul Watson & San Francisco’s Adam Meyerson are focus of documentary and will be on hand for Q &A 

26 July 2018 – San Francisco, CA: Like seafaring Spartans defying the invaders of Xerxes, Captain Paul Watson  and his Chief Officer Adam Meyerson have a similar message to ocean-going poachers: You Shall Not Pass. On Thursday, August 23, 6pm – 9pm at the Cowell Theatre, the San Francisco based International Ocean Film Festival ( presents the Bay Area Premiere of Chasing the Thunder: an epic chronicle of the 110 day, 10,000 mile chase of the rogue fishing vessel Thunder by the controversial environmental activist ship Bob Barker. A Q&A with Captain Watson and Meyerson will follow the screening.

“Activism meets art meets ocean awareness in Chasing the Thunder” said Ana Blanco, Executive Director for the International Ocean Film Festival. “As a film, it is a breathtaking piece of cinematography. As activism, it is a gripping real-life drama of the battle being waged to preserve our ocean’s resources and shine a light on criminal behavior.”

Chasing the Thunder is a high-seas documentary about the Sea Shepherd’s epic 110-day, 10,000-mile chase of the Thunder, considered the world’s most notorious poaching vessel. Across two seas and three oceans, the marine activists hunted the fugitive fishing ship through massive ice floes, storm-tossed seas, a near collision and violent clashes until the Thunder dramatically sank, burying the evidence of its crimes on the bottom of the South Atlantic.  As the Thunder is about to sink at the hands of its own captain, a team of Sea Shepherds boards the vessel, racing to collect evidence of illegal fishing before the ship goes down. Following the dramatic events, the crew of Thunder is taken into custody by authorities São Tomé and Príncipe.

“In Chasing the Thunder we try to serve conservation as entertainment and not medicine,” says the film’s director Mark Benjamin.  “Sea Shepherd delivers direct action and that is what is needed to save the ocean, we believe.”

Chasing the Thunder production credits:

  • Executive Produced by: Paul G. Allen, Carole Tomko, Rocky Collins, Mark Benjamin, Marc Levin
  • Produced by: Katie Carpenter, Sam Sielen
  • Directed by: Mark Benjamin, Marc Levin
  • A trailer for the film may be viewed / shared here:

“Having Paul Watson actually take part in this screening is an incredible and rare opportunity,” emphasizes Blanco, noting that Watson has become ‘environmental celebrity’ in his own right as star of television’s Whale Wars. “As the co-founder of Greenpeace and the founder of Sea Shepherds, Paul is arguably one of the most recognized ocean conservationist on the planet.”

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.

“Our mission is save our oceans one film at a time. Our films inspire people to appreciate and care for the ocean by revealing its wonders through the independent lens of filmmakers from around the world,” said Blanco, noting that the Festival is now recognized as the premier venue in North America for ocean-related films. “Our work is made possible by the spirit, passion, and hard work of numerous volunteers and artists dedicated to using film as a medium to increase public awareness of the environmental, social, and cultural importance of marine ecosystems and foster a spirit of ocean stewardship.”

The 16th Annual International Ocean Film Festival will take place March 7-10, 2019 at venues around San Francisco. The International Ocean Film Festival is a registered 501(c) 3 non-profit.