Blue Ocean Film Festival Announces Winning Films, Honors Ocean Heroes

Winners of the 2010 BLUE Ocean Film Festival were announced by Monterey Bay Aquarium for top cinematic works and ocean conservation. The BLUE film festival brings together leading ocean researchers and conservationists in a unique way.

Best of Festival award went to “Bag It!” by Reel Thing, which won in the category of Ocean Issues and Conservation. As a self-proclaimed “average guy,” the protagonist embarks on a global pilgrimage to explore our plastic world and understand our addiction to the items that are ‘supposedly’ disposable.

Two awards– Best Original Music Score and Best Theatrical film– went to Disneynature’s epic documentary “OCEANS,” narrated by Pierce Brosnan, offering a never-before-seen look at astounding creatures beneath the sea.

“In the Wake of Giants” won the National Marine Sanctuary Short Film Award. During the course of the film, a whale rescue team from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary risks their lives to free humpback whales from dangerous ropes and fishing nets off the Hawaiian islands.

An underwater look at diverse coastal regions in 3D was awarded the Special Jury Award to Howard and Michelle Hall’s “Under the Sea 3D”.

The following awards have also been given:

A Race to Discover the Cause and Solutions to our contaminating world water supply. Presented by the Sea Studios Foundation for NatGeo’s “Strange Days on Planet Earth (Broadcast).

“Life: Fish” (Marine Animal Behavior) on the BBC offers an up-close glimpse at aquatic vertebrates with remarkable abilities, such as swimming faster than cheetahs, escaping predators by flying, and adapting to their environment when necessary.

The story of the whale sharks that feed on the plankton of Yucatan Peninsula, another non-broadcast episode of Mountain and Sea Productions’ “Isla Holbox, Whale Shark Island” (Non-broadcast). Will ecotourism threaten these sharks?

There is a documentary titled “The Bering Sea: Ecosystem in Crisis” by Brent Balalas (Land-Sea Connection). The documentary describes how overfishing threatens one of the planet’s most productive ecosystems, and how local Aleuts are working to prevent it from becoming a deficit.

– “The Cousteaus explore all 13 NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries and Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monuments in “Jean Michel Cousteau Ocean Adventures: America’s Underwater Treasures” by Ocean Futures Society (Ocean Exploration and Adventure). This demonstrates the importance of maintaining these treasures.

An animated short produced by Deep Green Films (Children’s Programming); it shows how burning fossil fuels has an impact on our fragile underwater ecosystems.

This is a story about a five-year-old boy advocating against whaling in Kate Miller’s “Willem and the Whales” (Dot Doc).

An IMAX film and TV documentary, “The Ultimate Wave Tahiti”, by Perfect Wave Inc. (Ocean Sports).

– The underwater cinematography of NewHu Africa’s “Into the Dragon’s Lair” (Underwater Cinematography). Two men get amazing underwater footage of the Okavango River Delta by entering the Nile crocodile’s inner sanctum.

A young boy’s perspective on the amazing journey of the humpback whale en route between Atlantic feeding and breeding grounds in Andrew Stevenson’s “Where the Whales Sing” (Emerging Underwater Filmmaker).

Ocean acidification threatens the entire marine food web, according to NRDC’s “Acid Test” (Best Short Film).

In “Il Mare di Joe”, immigrant Joe Bonanno recounts Sicilian fishermen’s voyages to the California and Alaska fishing grounds. It highlights the importance of protected areas like Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Italy as well as the United States.

– “Chasing Giants” by Chris Hanson, Chris Fedor (Student Filmmaker), Merit Moron Pictures. Two undergrads embark on a voyage to Norway to gain an understanding of whaling and environmentalism.

Merit Moron Pictures (Marine Earth Sciences) presents “One Ocean: Changing Seas” to help viewers understand the future of oceans through Monterey’s kelp forest and the Mediterranean’s crystal blue.

El Salvador’s sea turtles are celebrated in “Fighting For Life, A Story Of The Sea” (Spanish Language Film).

“SoLa,” a documentary about the devastating effects of the Southern Louisiana coastal ecosystem on the environment, premiered at BLUE. “Beneath the Blue” revolves around dolphin scientists, sonar, espionage and Paul Wesley. In “Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist,” activist and filmmaker Peter Jan Brown takes a close look at shipboard life amongst self-proclaimed animal saviors and sea rebels.


In addition to the awards for outstanding environmental stewardship, the BLUE Ocean Film Festival featured the following prestigious awards:

A special tribute was paid to patriarch and pioneering ocean adventurer Jacques Yves Cousteau on behalf of his son Fabien Cousteau, daughter Celine Cousteau and daughter Jean-Michel Cousteau, who received the Making Waves Award. It recognizes individuals who, in accordance with the West Point Cadet Maxim, “risk more than others believe is safe, care more than others believe is wise, dream more than others believe is feasible, and expect more than others think is possible.”

BLUE Ocean Film Festival hosted Jean-Michel Cousteau as he discussed “My Father, the Captain” and signed copies.

As a result of his accomplishments in conservation policy and environmental stewardship, Dr. Carl Safina received the “Sylvia Earle Award” for outstanding ocean advocacy. Safina was presented with the award by Sylvia Earle, who chaired the forum, “The Gulf Oil Spill: Tragedy or Turning Point?”, in which he explored the scientific, moral, economic, and political aspects of the incident.

A number of other film and environmental ocean leaders were attending the festival, including Julie Packard, David Doubilet, Don Hahn, Howard Hall, Bob Talbot, Greg Stone, and others.

It was the Monterey Bay Aquarium that presented the BLUE Ocean Film Festival.

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