Blue Water Film Festival

Over the last several years we have seen a proliferation of several initiatives in the entertainment world: podcasts, TV series and film festivals. Indeed, greater choices seem to abound across the entertainment spectrum, but this is a film festival in San Diego’s backyard that should resonate for the citizens who live in such proximity to the ocean.

I had a chance to speak with Festival and Institute Executive Director Greg Reitman.

He talked about wanting to create a voice and a platform for ocean and water-based content. His aim is “not advocacy, but good environmental story telling.”

Covid put the kibosh on the festival’s early efforts, bit now Reitman and his team are back with a solid slate of 35 films, “all of Telluride quality.” Reitman explained that “some films have big budgets, some smaller, but all the films found a way to tell a story, which is more compelling than an advocacy commercial over and over.”

Among the nearly three dozen films presented at BWFF there will be one world premiere, twelve US premieres, with the remaining films all California premieres.

Some of the especially tantalizing films on offer include:

  • Inside Antarctica Director: Mike Libecki
  • Last Of The Right Whales Director: Nadine Pequeneza
  • Soul Of The Ocean Director: Howard Wesley Hall
  • Whale Wisdom Director: Rick Rosenthal

The festival runs June 2nd through 5th, 2022. The majority of films will screen in-person at the La Paloma Theater in Encinitas and at The Museum of Photography (MOPA) in Balboa Park, Media Arts Center San Diego in downtown San Diego and streamed virtually at Blue Water+.

Jane Goodall will receive the festival’s Global Citizen Award, which is presented to an industry leader whose contributions to the innovation of marine science and entertainment have changed the industry—and the world—for the better. The award will be presented via digital Sunday June 5th at the La Paloma Theatre. The awards show will be live from 5.30 until 7.00pm. Damian Hobgood will also receive the Blue Water Eco Award and Treasurer Ma from the State of California will issue three award certificates that night on behalf of the State of California.

The BWFF is now held annually in celebration of United Nations World Oceans Day. “We are trying to bring that to the attention of the community,” states Reitman. “To help us all appreciate the ocean, and what it serves.”

Reitman offers a sobering assessment: “If the oceans die, we die, the oceans are the lungs of our planet, not the forest.”

Full program listing here: Blue Water Film Festival


Brad Auerbach has been covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.

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