Posted by: Celine Cousteau | June 28, 2009

Blue Ocean Film Festival

On June 10-14, the first Blue Ocean Film Festival was held in Savannah, Georgia. Thank you Debbie Kinder for inviting me to participate.

Ah, brother and sister....

Ah, brother and sister

Which way?

Which way?

Two of my father’s films were finalists: Call of the Killer Whale and Sea Ghosts, both aired on PBS in April this year. My brother Fabien was present for Q&A on both films and I’m proud to say we won Best in Program or Series for Call of the Killer Whale. Congratulations to the whole Ocean Futures Society team that worked on it. I was able to join them for a short while as we filmed in the Pacific Northwest last year.

On June 13 I sat on a panel, Women in Filmmaking with Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and ocean woman extraordinaire and Laura Vagnone, of Feodor Pitcairn Productions. We shared stories about our work, mostly as they related to being a woman in this field, but also in general about the challenges of film production. As the third generation in my family to be a part of filmmaking expeditions, I spoke of my grandmother who had spent more time aboard the Calypso than anyone else and my mother, Anne-Marie, who was expedition photographer with my grandfather for more 13 years. What a treat to have been asked to have been asked to participate.

That evening, I presented Dr. Sylvia Earle with the Blue Ocean Lifetime Achievement Award for Ocean Advocacy. To be asked to pay tribute to Sylvia’s lifetime of work was a true honor for me. Here are a few words from that speech:

“Just as Sylvia has found inspiration underwater, she has inspired above and below. Inspired countless aspiring marine biologists, countless explorers, deep blue dreamers and motivated divers. She has taught land dwellers to connect to the ocean, she has motivated many through her tenacity and unrelenting quest for more understanding. I know she has inspired young women to believe in ourselves- that we too can be explorers, we can go to new depths of our own ability and we too can dream in varying shades of blue.”

This was a great opportunity for underwater filmmakers to share their work, but it became much more than that. In many conversations, we inevitably came back to the same topic- ocean advocacy and ocean conservation. Our job as filmmakers is not just to capture images and bring it back to the audience- it has evolved- our job now involves using our voices and our images to speak for a defend the very places we so love to capture in images. I hope 2010 will bring us another opportunity to continue this dialogue, across disciplines, across industries, and that scientists and researchers will join us in the next Blue Ocean Film Festival.

Present were Jon Bowermaster and his partner, Fiona Watson; Dan Basta, Director of the National Marine Sanctuaries, Mike DeGruy (The Film Crew, Inc.) with whom I worked with on Mysteries of the Shark Coast on Discovery Channel, and so many more talented and creative people!

What a team.

What a team.


Fabien and I on the cover of "South"

The cover of "South"- great article inside on the Blue Ocean Film Festival


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