Blue Ocean Film Festival moves to the Monterey Peninsula

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Tue, 01/12/2010 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

The Blue Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit will relocate its global ocean-focused event to the Monterey Peninsula beginning in 2010. The initial Monterey festival – with the aquarium as the presenting sponsor – is planned for August 25-29. Blue’s international film competition call for submissions will open in mid-January and film festival passes for the inaugural Monterey event will go on sale in late February. “With the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and the many research and conservation organizations based here the Monterey Peninsula is truly an epicenter of all things ocean ” says Debbie Kinder executive director of the festival. “Given our mission ‘to use the power of film and visual media to help protect the oceans and the life within ’ and our vision for the industry conference to empower and inspire ocean professionals to create great films and media that inspire better ocean stewardship we found the Monterey Bay area to be an ideal place to base our international event and outreach efforts.” Aquarium executive director Julie Packard welcomed the decision to move the festival to Monterey. “Films play a key role in connecting people everywhere with the beauty and wonder of the oceans ” Packard says. “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.” Since its debut last June Blue has been recognized for bringing together the world’s greatest collection of ocean films esteemed filmmakers and marine experts. It is also the first event of its kind to combine an international ocean film competition professional underwater filmmakers’ and photographers’ conference and high-profile conservation presentations along with community educational outreach and entertainment activities. “What a beautiful platform and one that takes us one step closer to nurturing our ocean planet back to health ” says Fabien Cousteau an ocean explorer environmentalist and member of the festival advisory board. The move to the Monterey Peninsula comes after the successful launch of the inaugural Blue festival in Savannah Georgia in June and invitations to make a permanent home on the West Coast from Dan Basta director of the National Marine Sanctuary system Bill Douros West Coast regional director for the National Marine Sanctuaries and Pacific Grove-based filmmaker Bob Talbot Kinder says. After several scouting trips and encouraging meetings with the aquarium and community leaders including Ted Balestreri of the Cannery Row Company organizers decided to make the move. “We have been made to feel very welcome here and the commitment of the Monterey Bay Aquarium to come on board as our Presenting Sponsor was a key factor in our making the final decision to move our event ” Kinder says. Additional community support has come from the Cannery Row Company which has stepped up in a leadership capacity as a Gold Sponsor the Code Blue Charitable Foundation the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries Lisa Coscino Gallery Kate Miller of Marine Mammal Conservation Through the Arts as well as support from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. In addition to the comprehensive industry conference Blue will offer a five-day agenda for community participation in fun activities: the screening of 50-plus award-winning ocean films exhibits of acclaimed underwater photography and visual arts opportunities to hear from renowned filmmakers photographers ocean conservation advocates policy makers and celebrities along with VIP parties and entertaining activities for the whole family. “While Blue is moving to the West Coast we haven’t forgotten the efforts and support of the Savannah community ” says Charles Kinder of Make A Difference Media the chief financial officer of Blue. “Given the uncertain economic environment of 2009 we were delighted with the success of Blue this past June in Savannah and we will remain engaged in that community through our Blue on Tour outreach initiatives. We will also continue to work with the Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival.” Blue: A Global Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit