Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival 2016 Draws 1700

The 13th annual Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival, held January 29-30 in Savannah, GA attracted 1700 attendees and unspooled its first-ever all-3D night.

Presented by Gray’s Reef NMS and the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the Film Festival – with “Wonders of the Ocean” as the year’s theme – showcased 24 titles during seven screening sessions, featured three outstanding guest speakers and presented five awards. For the first time, the event included free film programs with related learning activities for 300 local elementary school students. Twenty-four area companies, organizations and individuals were sponsors.

“The Film Festival is a continuing success story for the sanctuary, the local community and the importance of ocean stewardship,” said Chris Hines, Executive Director, Gray’s Reef NMSF.

This year’s Film Festival opened with an all-3D Night featuring Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean, from the legendary oceanographic explorer and producer, and Humpback Whales 3D, directed by two-time Academy Award nominee Greg MacGillivray. Ed Lyman, who leads whale disentanglement rescue work at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale NMS and was featured in the film, spoke about his work after the screening.

As in past years, the Film Festival held its Emerging Filmmakers Competition for students and the first, second and third-place winning selections being screened during the two-day event. In another first, two of this year’s three winners were from outside the US (Italy and Greece).

Other sessions included films showing community appreciation of the military, presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Emmy-winning cinematographers Paul and Grace Atkins and opening night and closing night galas.

Money raised during the Film Festival will support Gray’s Reef NMS research, resource protection and community outreach activities.