After two years of battering COVID waves, attendees to this year’s 19thAnnual International Ocean Film Festival will hear ocean waves as they walk into San Francisco’s Cowell Theater at Fort Mason, April 7 – 10 for the first in-person event since 2019. In addition, virtual presentations will also be offered April 11 – 24. The full schedule of films will be announced on February 20, and tickets to the entire festival go on sale March 10.
“We’re back! To say we’re excited is an understatement,” said Ana Blanco, Executive Director for the Festival. “This year’s festival will not only be an extraordinary homecoming to the Cowell Theatre, but will also highlight some of the lessons we learned from the pandemic. The silver lining of the last two years has been reaching more and new audiences through our virtual component, which now is a permanent part of the full festival.”
This year’s 19th Annual International Ocean Film Festival is marked with 18 days of ocean-focused, independent films. In addition, the Festival will host lively Q&A panels with film directors, marine scientists, and industry experts, as they discuss the films and share insights into ocean conservation, preservation, and legislation.
“Also, one of the Festival’s most important components is the 10th Annual Student Film Competition,” says Blanco. “It’s a way for students to tell their stories about the ocean and explore the exciting world of filmmaking. We are delighted to have PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors) supporting the Student Film Competition.”
The Student Film Competition is open to middle school and high school students (grades 6 through 12) from around the world. Films must be five minutes or less in duration, and touch upon some subject matter regarding the ocean. The deadline for submission is February 28.
According to Blanco, the past two years’ “Virtual Oceans” online Festivals were seen by a record breaking 10,000 people and more than 2500 students took part in the online education series. During 2020 and 2021, submissions were received from around the world, including films from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malaysia and Germany. For this year’s 19th Annual International Ocean Film Festival, Blanco is expecting an even great number – and greater diversity – of submissions.
The 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 offinalists 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 40different 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 upcoming 19th Annual International Ocean Film Festival include, The Consul General of Canada of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Laura Wais Underwater Imaging, NOAA, PG&E, Ring Central, RBC Wealth Management and The SSA Group.
Our generous hotel and hospitality partners are: The Hotel Griffon, The Hotel Zetta, the J.W. Marriott, the Kimpton Alton Hotel, Le Meridien, the Lodge at the Presidio and the Omni Hotel.
The International Ocean Film Festival encourages its patrons, supporters and partners to follow the most current advice from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization for preventing the further spread of the COVID-19 in Northern California and beyond, and to stay tuned for announcements about International Ocean Film Festival events once the threat level is reduced.