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Student Education Program Brings the Sea into the Classroom & the Classroom to the Sea

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Student Education Program Brings the Sea into the Classroom & the Classroom to the Sea

International Ocean Film Festival Provides Free Access for Students on March 8 & 9

29 November 2017 – San Francisco, CA: “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever,” said oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Certainly, one of the greatest nets with which to capture the wonder of students is a spellbinding film. To that end, the International Ocean Film Festival ( – celebrating its 15th anniversary in March – provides free access to Bay Area students to foster an education about the importance of our oceans. Partnership with area schools is foremost on the agenda of the respected San Francisco-based nonprofit: providing free access – and transportation – to ocean-centric films during special student programs on March 8 and 9 during the upcoming Festival. In addition, the Festival is going into Bay Area classrooms, having visited San Francisco’s Mission High School today, and with additional programs scheduled for the Spring.

“Through the Education Program, our goal is to educate and inspire youth to take an active role in protecting our vital ocean ecosystems,” said Ana Blanco, Executive Director for the International Ocean Film Festival. “Adults see our films as a call to present action.  Students and young people see our films as a vehicle to change and preserve our future.”

The International Ocean Film Festival Free Student Education Program presents film screenings and Q&A sessions with filmmakers, marine scientists, and industry experts — all in special daytime programs for middle school and high school students.  In addition to providing free access to the Festival, the Student Education Program brings films focused on ocean awareness into the classroom. On November 29 the Festival screened Plastic is Forever and #OB Obsession @415plumber at San Francisco’s Mission High School, and four additional screenings in the Spring.

“Perhaps there is no other metropolitan area in the nation more connected to our oceans than the San Francisco Bay Area,” said Hydra Mendoza, Vice President of the San Francisco Board of Education “This is the sort of educational partnership that provides access and information, literally, to the world – and oceans – around our young people where they live and learn.”

The International Ocean Film Festival Education Program is open to school groups of students grades 6 through 12. Registration is now open online at The deadline for registration is February 1, 2018. A limited number of charter buses will be available for school groups that need transportation. The education program is presented in partnership with the California Coastal Commission’s Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund.

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.

“This program allows us to extend our mission to many more students through road shows in the Bay Area and beyond, said Blanco. “We want to establish ourselves as a working forum for Bay Area film studies and environmental studies programs.”

Films screened at the 2017 Free Student Education Program were:

  • The Snail-Smashing, Fish-Spearing, Eye-Popping Mantis Shrimp
  • Coral in Crisis! Borneo From Below
  • My Haggan Dream
  • Little Teeth – Saving Sharks on Bali
  • #OB Plastic Obsession @415Plumber
  • Finisterra
  • Plastic Is Forever

Plus selections from the 6th Annual Student Film Competition:

  • Ocean Acidification
  • Hang Onto Your Butts
  • Through the Storm Drain
  • Our Vision

Sponsors for the 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival include National Marine Sanctuary, the Canadian Consulate of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Alcatraz Cruises, San Francisco Magazine, and Hotel Zephyr, Official Hotel Sponsor for the Festival.

The 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival will take place March 8 – 11, 2018 at San Francisco’s Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason Center for the Arts. The International Ocean Film Festival is a registered 501(c) 3 non-profit.