Films may be entered in 22 categories, such as animation, conservation innovation, foreign language, marine sciences and the Tampa Bay K-12 category, which showcases films created by Tampa Bay area school students. Blue Ocean organizers anticipate receiving up to 400 entries.
Festival events will be presented in St. Petersburg as well as in Sarasota and Tampa during the week-long festival.
The Blue Ocean Film Festival has been recognized for helping launch some of technology's hottest tools, including Google's Oceans - Street View and the 360-degree camera used to capture images of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Google is expected to make another product announcement during this year's St. Petersburg event.
The festival is one of the biggest environmental documentary film events in the world. It is presented annually in the United States and Monaco. This year's festival is expected to draw around 20,000 people. Last year, festival organizers announced the event would move to St. Petersburg from Monterey, Calif., and host the festival in even-numbered years starting in 2014.
The festival returns to Monaco in odd-numbered years beginning in 2015. HSH Prince Albert of Monaco is a major supporter of Blue Ocean.