Discover Wonder: The Octopus Garden Honored at International Ocean Film Festival

Silver Spring, Md. – April 1, 2021 – The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s film, Discover Wonder: The Octopus Garden, was honored with the Shorts Award as best short film at the 18th Annual International Ocean Film Festival.

The 9-minute film follows a team of scientists to the depths of NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to view one of the rarest and deepest octopus brooding colonies on the planet, which was discovered by researchers on the Ocean Exploration Trust’s E/V Nautilus

The film, along with the rest of the winners and entrants, can be viewed as part of the International Ocean Film Festival from April 15 to May 2.

Discover Wonder: The Octopus Garden was written, directed and edited by John Dutton; produced by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation; and funded by the Tides Foundation. The film was also supported by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

Kris Sarri, president and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, said, “The octopus garden in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary demonstrates the importance of protecting significant areas in our ocean. We are still discovering unique habitats and species in our ocean and there is much more to explore.  By telling the story through this beautiful film, we hope to inspire people to be stewards of our ocean and support future discovery.” 

Filmmaker John Dutton said, “I certainly learned a lot about the octopus while making this film – but one of the things that most resonated with me was that all of the biological processes that occur miles down at the bottom of the ocean, where the octopuses were discovered, also influence our climate.” 

Chad King, Research Specialist at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and narrator of Discover Wonder: The Octopus Garden, said, “I’m beginning to understand the contradictory notion that every time we explore the deep sea, the unexpected can happen more often than we expect. This film brings me right back to the control room of the exploration vessel Nautilus as I watched our discovery of the “octopus garden” unfold two miles below our feet. This film also highlights the need to explore and safeguard more of the world’s oceans, as Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is protecting something incredibly special and unique that we didn’t even realize was there.”

The International Ocean Film Festival is an annual event dedicated to restoring, protecting, and balancing ocean biodiversity through independent film. As the premier venue in North America for ocean-related films, the festival uses film as a medium to increase public awareness of the environmental, social, and cultural importance of marine ecosystems and foster a spirit of ocean stewardship. The 18th annual International Ocean Film Festival is held April 15 – May 2, 2021 and features more than 80 independent ocean films from around the world. For more information on tickets and viewing information, visit the International Ocean Film Festival.

Contact: Chip Weiskotten

Director of Strategic Communications 



The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve America’s maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at