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November 2 OFF THE REEF Benefit At San Francisco’s Bently Reserve Celebrates Generations of Environmental Leadership

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November 2 OFF THE REEF Benefit At San Francisco’s Bently Reserve Celebrates Generations of Environmental Leadership

International Ocean Film Festival Gives “Ocean Champion Award” to Dr. Sylvia Earle

Swedish Eco Activist Greta Thunberg To Be Honored In Absentia 

With the “Next Generation” Award

Acclaimed Nonprofit Is Dedicated to “Saving Our Oceans: One Film at a Time”
17th Annual Festival Runs March 12 – 15, 2020

5 September 2019 – San Francisco, CA: Conserving and restoring our oceans require intergenerational leadership. This year San Francisco’s International Ocean Film Festival (www.intloceanfilmfest.orgrecognizes that need through honoring generations of environmental leadership at its 17thannual fall benefit fundraiser. Internationally acclaimed oceanographer and marine advocate Dr. Sylvia Earle, 84, will received the Festival’s annual Ocean Champion Award—past awardees include Kip Evans, director of Expeditions for Mission Blue, Academy-Award winning director LouiePsihoyos 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. Thunberg will receive the award after having recently completed a Trans-Atlantic journey by sail to minimize her own carbon footprint while attending global forum on Climate Change. The Next Generation Award recognizes not only Thunberg’s thought leadership on the urgency of addressing global climate change, which is causing a higher extinction rate in the seas than on land, but also her leading by example in her climate strike and individual actions to reduce carbon emissions.

The night for our oceans’ future fall benefit evening will take place on Saturday, November 2 at The Bently Reserve (301 Battery Street, San Francisco and feature a vegan dinner, fine wine and a live auction, and the following schedule: 5:30pm – 7pm cocktail reception; 7pm-9pm dinner and program; 9pm ‘til 10:30pm music by DJ Bryce Williams. Highlighted during the evening will be teasers of the Festival’s upcoming films. Individual tickets are $ 250 and can be purchased online starting Wednesday, September 3, 2019 at

“Our oceans have been under siege for many generations” said Ana Blanco, Executive Director of the International Ocean Film Festival. “However, there is room for optimism in the lives and legacies of this year’s honorees, Dr. Sylvia Earle and Greta Thunberg. Across the generations, these two incredible women represent the courage, vision and resilience needed to save our oceans, and build a world that sustains them into the future.”

According to Blanco, Earle and Thunberg are slated to meet each other for the first time later this month at the United Nations Climate Action Summit being held in New York City.

Oceanographer, National Geographic explorer and 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, Valla and Associates, and SSA. 

The 17th Annual International Ocean Film Festival will take place March 12 – 152020 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.

For more information visit and follow on social at:

Twitter @oceanfilmfest

Instagram @intloceanfilmfest