Thursday, December 17, 2009

BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Ocean Summit: relocates to Monterey, California

I just returned from Monterey, California, where a press conference was held at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to announce the relocation of the BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Ocean Summit to the Monterey Peninsula.

I had the pleasure of attending and participating in the inaugural festival that was held last June in Savannah, Georgia, and what I found most exciting with this event compared to others of its kind was that it was more than a film festival, more than an industry event for filmmakers. It was a celebration of the ocean and an opportunity for the general public to learn from those who are dedicated to preserving it, from filmmakers to leading scientists to recognized conservationists.

Savannah, with its "Old South" charm was a great place to hold the first BLUE Ocean Film Festival but, I'm sure for the festival's organizers, the opportunity to put on an event in such a picturesque ocean community with the support of one of the world's leading aquariums and other important ocean-based organizations, well, it's just to good of an offer to pass up.

“Films play a key role in connecting people everywhere with the beauty and wonder of the oceans,” said Julie Packard, Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. “Done well, they can compel people to care more, then do more to protect the oceans. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s expertise is in exhibiting living creatures, but some stories are best told through film. We’re very pleased to support BLUE as the festival’s presenting sponsor. It’s an event we feel is both important and needed.”

For 2010, the festival will be run from August 24th through the 29th with over 50 films to be presented, discussion groups and seminars for both filmmakers and concerned citizens alike, and educational events for kids and grownups of all ages.

At the press conference, Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed oceanographer and filmmaker Jacque Yves Cousteau, recounted one of his grandfather's favorite sayings, "'People protect what they love. But how can they protect what they don't understand?'"

It is to address that very challenge that events like the BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Ocean Summit exist.

I had a chance to sit in on discussions with CEO Debbie Kinder and her husband, Charles, along with Charlotte Vick, communications director for Dr. Sylvia Earle's Deep Search Foundation, and I can tell you there are some great things planned for this event. Mark your calendar: it's summer time in Monterey with the Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf, and some gorgeous scenic ocean views.

And, of course, the BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Ocean Summit. I'll see you there!

Read complete press release.

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