Audience Awards Names the Ocean Film Challenge Finalists

 In Announcements, Jury

Audience Awards announces the eight finalists in the Ocean Film Challange. The challenge, in support of Dr. Sylvia Earle and powered by Audience Awards, Hatch, and Mission Blue, asked filmmakers to submit short films on the impact humans have on the ocean and the actions individuals can take to save the ocean. 

The eight finalists in this year’s Ocean Film Challenge are: Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele, High Hopes- The Future of Dungeness Crab; Rory Benyard, Filtering a Plastic Ocean; Petr Krejčí, GreycraftNikki Dodd and Rory Moon, Throw Away Culture; Talia Schizzano, Defying Plastic; Ziggy Livnat, ConnectedSariff Mirshak, The Plastic Vagabond; Gabriel Diamond, Blue Ventures. 

The Ocean Film Challenge’s jury panel is championed by Dr. Sylvia Earle, called “Her Deepness” by The New York Times and “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, Sylvia was Time magazine’s first “Hero for the Planet.” She has led over 100 expeditions, logged more than 7,000 hours underwater, authored more than 200 publications and lectured in 90 countries; Eric Cheng, award-winning photographer, technologist, drone expert, and author. He works at Facebook as Head of Immersive Media; Josh Fox, writer, director, and producer of two feature films and over 20 works for the stage. His feature documentary debut GASLAND has been nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, the WGA Award for Best Documentary Screenplay, won the 2010 Environmental Media Association Award for Best Documentary and won the 2010 Sundance Special Jury Prize; Matthew Lillard, a veteran of both stage and screen, well known for his performances in over 50 films and television shows over the last 20 years including the new NBC show Good GirlsScream, The Descendants and Scooby Doo 1 & 2. 

Ocean Film Challenge Jury Panel

From the eight finalist films, the jury will select the Best Film in Competition: Jury Choice who will win $1,000 and 2-round trip tickets on Singapore Airlines and a meeting with Dr. Sylvia Earle. Audience Awards voting will run June 1-8, 2018. The most voted film wins $1,000 and an all-inclusive 7-day diving trip at VOLIVOLI Beach Resort Fiji for 2. The second and third place audience voted films win a share of $250. All 8 finalist filmmakers win an autographed photography book by Dr. Earle and Force Fins autographed by Dr. Earle.

The finalist films will premiere at DCEFF, the world’s largest environmental film festival on Friday, March 23, at 7:00 PM at the Naval Heritage Center in DC. Directly following the premiere, awards will be announced for Best Film: Jury Choice, Honorable Mention, Best in Score, Cinematography, Sound and Editing. After DCEFF, the films will travel the festival circuit as “Dr. Sylvia Earle’s Ocean Film Challenge.”Additional screenings include the International Wildlife Film Festival (IWFF) in Missoula, MT, and AudFest in Los Angeles, CA.

This challenge kicks off the massive initiative to move a billion people to act in support of the ocean on Blue Out Day, June 8, 2018. A big thanks to our additional sponsors: Wetpixel, Blue out Day, Ocean Media Institute, and Voli Voli Beach Resort Fiji.

ABOUT AUDIENCE AWARDS: Audience Awards provides filmmakers with the opportunity to change the world through stories, win prizes and build an audience. Films are judged by the audience as well as industry professionals. Previous jurors represent Vice, YouTube, Variety, Sundance and the list goes on. We are committed to providing a stage for diverse, emerging talent and their creative work. Our platform is dedicated to celebrating the power of storytelling and building an audience. Created by filmmakers, for filmmakers, Audience Awards offers an invaluable platform for exposure. Our filmmakers don’t just gain exposure – like press and social media engagement – but also opportunities to accelerate their careers. Learn More:

ABOUT AUDIENCE AWARDS FILM FESTIVAL: Your days at AudFest will be filled with invaluable industry panels and workshops, your nights filled with screenings, networking parties and awards ceremonies. AudFest is the capstone of 365 days full of stellar filmmaking and an opportunity for us to provide opportunity and exposure to our filmmaker family. We play with cameras, gear, learn from industry experts, get mentored by industry execs. We award three pioneer filmmakers and screen your amazing films. Everyone who submits to this challenge receives two passes to attend AudFest! Learn more here:

ABOUT HATCH: is an activated network of changemakers that is: creating highly catalytic experiences  (a selected chemistry set of extraordinary humans); facilitating peer to peer acceleration  (exponential collaborations where 1 + 1 = 11); designing solution-driven think tanks  (working on solutions for real world challenges); mentoring the next generation through educational programs  (to shape future leaders…. to HATCH a better world.

ABOUT MISSION BLUE: The MissionBlue™ Sylvia Earle Alliance’s purpose is to explore and care for the ocean. We are committed to inspiring a sea change in public awareness, access and support for marine protected areas worldwide, ranging from the deepest ocean to sunlit reefs, and from the seamounts of the high seas to coastal seagrass meadows.We draw inspiration from the vision evoked by our founder, Dr. Sylvia Earle: to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL IN THE NATION’S CAPITAL (DCEFF): The world’s largest showcase of environmental films, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital celebrates Earth and inspires stewardship of the planet through the power of film. Each March in Washington, D.C. the Festival presents a large and diverse selection of films — documentaries, narratives, animations, shorts, and experimental films — selected to provide fresh perspectives on our global environment. Filmmakers, scientists, and environmental experts enhance the Festival’s impact through post-screening discussions. We also host film events throughout the year and the Festival’s website,, serves as a global resource.

ABOUT IWFF: The vision of the International Wildlife Film Festival is an engaged community that finds itself through cinema and helps the planet to heal.IWFF values respect, diversity, collaboration, and stewardship. An international event with special guests, world premieres and one of the largest and most diverse audiences in the region, with 6,000 attendees and 2,000 students. IWFF is an annual wildlife and conservation-themed film festival held each April in scenic Missoula, Montana. The event draws hundreds of filmmakers, scientists, conservationists and enthusiasts. Housed at The Roxy Theater, Missoula’s historic independent arthouse theater. Founded in 1977 at the University of Montana we are the first and longest running event of its kind. In 2002 we purchased the historic Roxy Theater as the home for the festival. In 2013 The Roxy launched its year-round screening series and began extensive collaboration with university, business and community, serving a diverse, all-ages population with broad programming, from wildlife and environmental film and new and classic fiction and documentaries, to live music, poetry, performance and other cultural offerings, including our monthly IWFF Presents series.

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