ST. PETERSBURG – BLUE Ocean Film Festival recently announced that the next biennial festival will kick off Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, in St. Petersburg.
The festival will run through Sunday, Nov. 9. The announcement was made at a special event in Monaco hosted by BLUE, the Prince Albert II Foundation and the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco. Simultaneously, BLUE announced a strategic partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco to host a BLUE Ocean Film Festival event every other year in Monaco, beginning in 2015.
“We chose St. Petersburg as a place to grow BLUE, for several reasons,” said Debbie Kinder in a press release. Kinder is CEO and executive director of BLUE. “The incredibly beautiful marina and downtown area will provide the intimate environment that has become a trademark for BLUE, with access to state-of-the-art facilities for showcasing our films and hosting signature events. Just as important is the enthusiasm of the local business community and the world-class institutional partnerships we have developed that will help us grow our education outreach programs. Of course, St. Petersburg’s location on the Gulf of Mexico, was a major factor in our decision.”
At the heart of BLUE Ocean Film Festival is an international film competition and festival that screens more than 100 of the world’s ocean films in more than 20 award categories.
A Conservation Summit and Film/Media Industry Conference presented during the festival draws leaders and luminaries from the marine conservation, film and art worlds. Film screenings and conservation events are open to the public, along with memorable social events that provide an intimate environment for networking with filmmakers and scientists.
The leadership of BLUE, which has been recognized as the “premier forum for ocean filmmakers and scientists,” also considered St. Petersburg’s capacity for growing public participation in the event in choosing the new location.
BLUE’s global advisory board includes notable members such as John Francis of the National Geographic Society, Jenifer Austin Foulkes, ocean manager at Google, Jim Hekkers of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Tim Keeny, former deputy assistant secretary for oceans and atmosphere at NOAA, Stratton Leopold, executive vice president of production at Paramount Pictures and Paul Beribault, vice president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Also on the board are John Welch, founder of the Sarasota Film Festival, as well as Jean-Michel Cousteau, executive producer of the Ocean Futures Society, and Fabien Cousteau, executive director of Plant a Fish. Jean-Michel is the first son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau; Fabien is Jean-Michel’s son.
“More than films, more than a celebration of all things wet, the BLUE Ocean Film Festival brings together a potent mix of artists, scientists, conservationists, decision makers, industry leaders, inquisitive teachers, lively kids and more,” said Sylvia Earle on the festival’s website. Earle is founder of Mission Blue, SEAlliance and a National Geographic Explorer in residence. “Come to be in the company of kindred spirits and make useful contacts. Come to be entertained, or inspired, or informed. Come to have a good time. Whatever strums your blue heartstrings just don't miss out.”