International Ocean Film Festival Returns to Bay Area

"One who was born by the ocean or has associated with it cannot ever be quite content away from it for very long," wrote John Steinbeck in his classic The Log from the Sea of Cortez.

Sharkwater Extinction by Canadian Rob Stewart is the Conservation Award winner and will have its Bay Area premiere during the International Ocean Film Festival. Photo courtesy of International Ocean Film Festival

BC STAFF

 

"One who was born by the ocean or has associated with it cannot ever be quite content away from it for very long,” wrote John Steinbeck in his classic The Log from the Sea of Cortez. For the filmmakers and film lovers of the San Francisco-born International Ocean Film Festival, the sea and its inspiration are never far away for very long.

 

From March 7 to 10, for the 16th year, the acclaimed nonprofit festival dedicated to “saving our oceans, one film at a time” will bring the wonder of earth’s watery realm to scores of audience members. The festival will feature 55 films, including four world premieres and four United States premieres by filmmakers from around the world, across the United States and right here in the Bay Area.

 

“Every day it becomes clearer that our oceans are under assault,” said Ana Blanco, executive director for festival, noting that this year a record 148 films were submitted for consideration including for the first time, two films to be offered in virtual reality. “Every year, more and more people are inspired to action by the films that we present. We are very much a festival with a mission and passion for making a change.”

 

Amidst a virtual sea of cinematic talent, the festival has selected 11 films for special honors at this year’s annual showcase. The award winners recognize works highlighting environmental awareness, animation, wildlife, coastal conservation, citizen science, sports and adventure, and short subjects. The annual awards are handed out at the end of each program at which the winner’s film is screened.

 

“Every year brings a greater awareness of our ocean heritage, and every year brings fresh, new talent to our screens,” said Blanco. “This year’s stand out films offer a truly international perspective with films from the Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.”

 

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 on average over 50 films annually 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, Festival International du Film Maritime, which has continued to draw large audiences for more than 40 years.

       

Screenings take place in San Francisco at the Cowell Theatre in Fort Mason and at the Roxie; and in Marin at the Smith Rafael Film Center. For a complete schedule and more information on the festival, visit www.intloceanfilmfest.org.

For the Love of the Reef by Alan Franks will have its West Coast premiere during the International Ocean Film Festival. Photo courtesy of International Ocean Film Festival

The Final Breach by Jess Webster (United Kingdom) is a 2019 Short Award winner and will have its premiere during the International Ocean Film Festival. Photo courtesy of International Ocean Film Festival