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United Nations’ UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Endorses San Francisco’s International Ocean Film Festival United Nations’ UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

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United Nations’ UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Endorses San Francisco’s International Ocean Film Festival 

21st Annual International Ocean Film Festival Runs
April 12 – 14 in San Francisco 

7 February 2024 —  San Francisco, CA:  As part of the United Nations’ ongoing work to combat and educate around climate change and other environmental projects, UNESCO’s Ocean Decade Initiative ( has officially endorsed the efforts of San Francisco’s International Ocean Film Festival ( The 21st edition of the International Ocean Film Festival convenes immediately after in San Francisco, April 12 – 14.

“For the work of the International Ocean Film Festival to be recognized by the United Nations is a high honor,” said Ana Blanco, Executive Director for the Festival. “To take part in the Ocean Decade initiative means that our films and filmmakers are seen as an important part of the UN’s work, and to facilitate a transition from ‘the ocean we have’ to ‘the ocean we want: an ocean that supports sustainable development and a healthy ecosystem.”

After a rigorous review process, the International Ocean Film Festival met the following criteria for endorsement:  

  • Contributing to fulfilling the Ocean Decade Challenges and to achieving the Decade Objectives and the associated sub-objectives.
  • Accelerating the generation or use of knowledge and understanding of the ocean, with a specific focus on knowledge that will contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and complementary policy frameworks
    and initiatives.
  • Deemed to have co-designed or co-delivered by knowledge generators and users, and thus facilitate the uptake of science and ocean knowledge for policy, decision-making, management and/or innovation.
  • Having ensured that all data and resulting knowledge has been provided in an open access, shared, discoverable manner in accordance with the provisions of United Nations Conventions of the Sea and are appropriately deposited in recognized data repositories consistent with the IOC Oceanographic Data Exchange Policy10 or the relevant UN
    subordinate body data policy.
  • Has strengthened existing or created new partnerships across nations and/or between diverse ocean actors, including users of ocean science.
  • Has contributed toward capacity development, including, but not limited to, beneficiaries in Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries.
  • Has overcome barriers to diversity and equity, including gender, generational and geographic diversity.
  • Collaborates with and engages local and indigenous knowledge holders.

The Ocean Decade initiative aims to harness, stimulate and empower interdisciplinary ocean research at all levels to support the timely delivery of the data, information and knowledge needed to achieve a well-functioning ocean in support of all Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. The Ocean Decade will not set ocean policy but rather will provide a framework to motivate ocean science and research that can increase understanding and inform policy and decision-making. In order to achieve this, the Ocean Decade will mobilize resources and technological innovation to build capacity, develop scientific knowledge, build and share infrastructure and foster partnerships for a sustainable and healthy ocean. 

The International Ocean Film Festival accepts films of all genres that focus on any of the varied aspects of our big, blue ocean. Subject matter ranges from, but is not limited to, marine wildlife, conservation efforts, ocean environments, coastal cultures, ocean sports and exploration, ocean heroes, and innovative technology designed to help protect the ocean. Films can be documentaries, narratives, shorts, animation, and full-length films from around the world. A number of finalists from the main film festival program will be selected to participate in the world-renowned International Ocean Film Festival Traveling Program. This year’s film categories include Environmental, Marine Sciences/Wildlife, Exploration & Ocean Sports, Coastal Island Culture. Animation, Conservation, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Shorts and Female Directors.

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 815 films from 40 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.

Sponsors for this year’s International Ocean Film Festival are: RingCentral, Jenga Ocean, RBC Wealth Management and Laura Wais Underwater Photography.

The full list of films will be released in the coming days.
The 21st International Ocean Film Festival runs April 12 – 14, 2024 at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center. The International Ocean Film Foundation is a 501(c) 3 non-profit.