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November 2 OFF THE REEF Fall Benefit for International Ocean Film Festival Raises over $ 150,000 for Nonprofit Festival

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November 2 OFF THE REEF Fall Benefit for International Ocean Film Festival Raises over $ 150,000 for Nonprofit Festival

17th Annual Event Honored Dr. Sylvia Earle Swedish Eco Activist Greta Thunberg 

11 November 2019 – San Francisco, CA: It was an evening of generational inspiration at San Francisco’s Bently Reserve on Saturday, November 2 as San Francisco’s International Ocean Film Festival ( honored two “Ocean Champions”: Dr. Sylvia Earle and Swedish Climate Change activist Greta Thunberg. In addition, the 17th annual “Off the Reef” Fall Benefit previewed upcoming films for the Festival, taking place in and around San Francisco March 12 – 15, 2020 and also raised over $ 150,000 to further its nonprofit mission: Saving Our Oceans, One Film at a Time.

“We were thrilled with all the positive energy in the room,” said Ana Blanco, Executive Director of the International Ocean Film Festival of the sold-out event. “Honoring the legacies of these two ocean champions, Sylvia Earle and Greta Thunberg, was an inspiration to everyone there.”

“Our highest priority must be to keep the world safe,” Earle said in remarks to the crowd. “How do we do that?  Protect the air, protect the water, protect the fabric of life that makes our existence possible. The ocean is what makes Earth: no ocean, no life, no blue. no green, no us.”

“It is a great privilege for me to stand in front of you here representing one of the most powerful — and brave — young people on this planet,” said Swedish Consul General Barbro Osher, accepting Thuberg’s Award. Osher will deliver the award to Thunberg in Sweden.  “Thank you so much for acknowledging the power of a very young, and very, very thoughtful and very clever young woman with a lot of climate courage in her.  She’s been demonstrating outside of the Swedish Parliament every Friday — rain or shine or snow. That message has left Sweden and now gone around the world. Greta Thunberg stands up in all of her 150 centimeters and says ‘wake up world, wake up!’”

Later, in a nod to her fellow honoree Earle remarked: “I think about Greta and her insight as a child who has taken the distillation of what now is known and she sort of cuts through it all and asks the question ‘Why aren’t we taking seriously the knowledge that is there?’That the planet that existed 100 years ago is not the same planet that we have now in ways that are alarming in terms of our capacity to go forward with the air, the water, the fabric of life that keeps us alive.’”

Osher quoted from Greta Thunberg’s book No-one Is Too Small To Make A Difference:  “Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to have hope.  But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day and then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis.  And then, I want you to act as if our house is on fire, because it is.”

As is its eco-friendly tradition, the “Off The Reef” Benefit featured sustainable, vegan food and drink, lively entertainment and a series of sought-after auction items including a luxury 10-day expedition to the Galapagos aboard the 96-guest National Geographic Endeavour II. Valued at more than $ 17,000 the adventure cruise was graciously donated by Lindblad Expeditions. 

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, SSA, Alcatraz Cruises, the Port of San Francisco and Pacific Gas & Electric. 

The 17th Annual International Ocean Film Festival takes place March 12 – 15, 2020 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: