Holiday Festivities

Third Annual Blue Water Film Festival

  • Where:
    Please visit
  • When:
    June 2, 2022
  • Time:
    10:00 am
  • Price:
    Please visit

The Third Annual Blue Water Film Festival, Held in Celebration of United Nations World Oceans Day Announces 2022 Global Citizen Award and Film Slate

San Diego, CA, May 12, 2022—The 2022 Blue Water Film Festival (BWFF), presented by the Blue Water Institute, has revealed the honorees and film line-up for its third annual BWFF event—taking place Thursday, June 2nd through Sunday, June 5th—announced Festival and Institute Executive Director Greg Reitman. Held each year in celebration of United Nations World Oceans Day, this year BWFF will screen eighteen feature films, fifteen short films and two animated films—35 in all—with one world premiere, 12 US premieres, and 22 California premieres.

Jane Goodall will receive the festival’s Global Citizen Award, which is presented to an industry leader whose contributions to innovations in marine science and entertainment have changed the industry, and the world, for the better. The award will be presented in person and online on Saturday, June 4th, at the BWFF's filmmakers' brunch at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Diego.

BWFF will open on Thursday, June 2nd with the world premiere of Mike Libecki’s Inside Antarctica, a special presentation by DELL Technologies. The festival will also debut two National Geographic documentaries: Fire Of Love and The Territory; and San Diego’s Freedom Boat Club will present a special outdoor screening of Whale Wisdom. The festival will close with a screening of Last of the Right Whales, followed by a Q&A with director Nadine Pequeneza, attending in person.

The full slate is as follows:
Feature Films
Against The Current Director: Tod Hardin
Archipelago New York – An Island City Director: Thomas Halaczinsky
Aquariums: The Dark Hobby Director: Paula Fouce
Fire Of Love Director: Sara Dosa
Hell Or High Seas Director: Glenn Holsten
Heroes Of The Sea Directors: York Hovest, Katrin Eigendorf, Sabine Streich
Last Of The Right Whales Director: Nadine Pequeneza
Shadow Weavers Director: Erica Nguyen
Soul Of The Ocean Director: Howard Wesley Hall
The Cost Of Free Water (La Goutte De Trop) Director: Jérémie Battaglia
The Last Tourist Director: Tyson Sadler
The Power of Activism Director: Steve Pasvolsky
The Territory Director: Alex Pritz
The Witness Is A Whale Directors: Nick Dean, Cheryl Dean
Whale Wisdom Director: Rick Rosenthal
Whetū Mārama – Bright Star Directors: Toby Mills, Aileen O’Sullivan
Why On Earth Director: Katie Cleary
2100 Director: Fabrizio Antonioli

Short Films
A Flyfishing Refugee Director: Brian Kelley
After Ice Director: Kieran Baxter
An Alaskan Flight Director: Brian Kelley
Aquateam: Sea Adventure Director: Massimo Montigiani
A River Reborn Director: Ben Kalina
Cause A Sea Change: Save Sharks Producer: NOAA Ocean Today
Drifting North: The Arctic Pulse Directors: Lianna Nixon, Amy Lauren
Ghost Ponds Director: Amanda Sosnowski
Heal The River Director: Paulina Sobczak
Hope In The Water Directors: Jake Weinberger, Nicolas Quintairos
Inside Antarctica Director: Mike Libecki
Song Of The Sea (El Canto Del Mar) Director: Kat Reynolds
The Fish & The Flame Director: David Hutchinson
The Oyster Farmer Director: Kika Tuff
Tuna Tales Directors: Pepe Brix, Rui Pedro Lamy
Wastewater: A Tale Of Two Cities Director: Sarah Franke
We Are Like Waves Director: Jordyn Romero

The majority of films will screen in person at the La Paloma Theater in Encinitas, the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park, and Media Arts Center San Diego in El Cajon; and will stream virtually at Blue Water+.

Each year, BWFF is honored to welcome a slate of highly qualified judges to evaluate the films in each category. The 2022 jury list (currently in formation) includes:

Feature Film Jurors
Laura Kutnick - Producer
Laura Kutnick grew up around the world, but raised her own family in a small green community in rural Connecticut. Graduating in film studies from Dartmouth College, she then pursued film theory at the Sorbonne, and later business and communications at the University of Pennsylvania. She went on to work as a communications consultant for the Aspen Institute and on several of ABC’s Emmy award-winning documentaries before becoming a health producer for the CBS nightly news. She also wrote a dramatic play examining the fragility of nuclear disarmament and a biography of her parents' contemporary art collection, released by Sotheby's. Currently, Laura is president of the Dale and Laura Kutnick Foundation, which has been pivotal to the success of many non-profit initiatives which address climate change.

Wolfgang Knöpfler - Producer
Wolfgang Knöpfler is an internationally-acclaimed film producer specializing in documentary filmmaking. He is a hands-on producer who has worked across five continents and over 50 countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Most of the projects he has been involved with were produced for major networks including National Geographic, WNET, PBS, Discovery, BBC, and blue-chip broadcasters in Germany, Austria, and France, among others. He was also part of Michael Haneke’s Cannes-nominated feature film Funny Games, as well as the popular TV drama series Kommissar Rex, and has produced video clips for recording artists like Queen and Falco.

At Terra Mater Studios, he produced the following feature documentaries with Walter Köhler: The Arctic: Our Last Great Wilderness, in IMAX; the National Geographic's 2019 Sundance audience award-winner Sea of Shadows; 2019 Tribeca Film Festival audience award-nominee Watson; and Netflix's 2017 Oscars shortlisted The Ivory Game, with executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio.

Mark Benjamin - Underwater Photographer
Mark Benjamin has built his reputation as a dedicated director and cameraman in film and television over the last 40 years. He has created numerous independent films, eight Bill Moyers documentaries, six National Geographic films, and ten films across HBO, ABC, CBS, NBC, TBS, and the Discovery Channel. His first filming assignment was in 1973, where he was a combat cameraman for NBC News in the Sinai Desert. In 2009 and 2010, he served as Executive Producer and Director of Brick City, a Peabody award-winning and twice Emmy award-nominated docu-series on the Sundance Channel.

Short Film Jurors
Louie Psihoyos - Filmmaker, Underwater Photographer
Louie Psihoyos is a world-renowned National Geographic photographer and award-winning director. He is a founder and Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), a California-based non-profit organization that uses cutting edge film and multimedia spectacles to scale environmental change.

In 2010, his first documentary film, The Cove, won an Oscar and became the first documentary to sweep all the film guilds. Activism inspired by the film helped reduce dolphin slaughter in Japan by over 90%. In 2014 and 2015, he helped create spectacular digital projections of endangered species on the Empire State Building, the United Nations Headquarters, and the Vatican, receiving over 5 billion media views and leading to protection laws for some of the earth’s most endangered animals. Since 2004, 75% of all interest in plant-based diets has been attributed to his documentary about plant-based athletes, The Game Changers. His most recent film, Mission: Joy, starrs His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Karl Bardosh - Professor, New York University
Professor Karl Bardosh has taught 30 different courses during his 25-year tenure at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, including courses of his own design, like “Cell Phone Cinema” and “No Excuses Cinema: Micro-budget Features.” His Cell Phone Cinema course was selected by Campuswire as the most Innovative Course in the 2019-2020 Academic Year in the USA.

Jean Thoren - Publisher, Animation Magazine
Jean Thoren is the owner and publisher of the Los Angeles-based Animation Magazine, and all of its related endeavors. The first issue of Animation Magazine was born at The World Animation Celebration, the first international animation festival in the US. For over 34 years since, Animation Magazine has been the only international monthly publication dedicated to the art, technology, and business of animation, including the computer-generated visual effects that dominate many live action productions. The Animation Magazine website, daily e-mail newsletter, industry directories, books, apps, social media, and events combine to deliver total cross-platform coverage for the industry, providing information across five continents.

Jean is currently planning the 10th edition of The World Animation & VFX Summit, to be held in person in North Hollywood, CA, Monday, November 7th through Thursday, November 10th. The summit will open with a Hall of Fame Awards ceremony and dinner, followed by three days of screenings, meetings, panels, and networking parties.

BWFF, in conjunction with the Blue Water Institute, is an emerging festival whose intention is to bring greater awareness to our big blue planet’s precious life supply of water—our oceans, aquifers, rivers, dams, lakes, streams, and waterway systems—through cinema and engagement. A boutique event beloved by environmentally-conscious film fans and auteurs alike, BWFF is the Festival for Environmental Filmmakers. Renowned for its programming, BWFF provides opportunities to support emerging voices in environmental filmmaking: over 80% of the films on the slate will have filmmakers in attendance (in person or online) to participate in Q&As after the screenings. Passes for the 2022 Blue Water Film Festival can be purchased now at

About Blue Water Film Festival (BWFF)
Founded in 2020, the Blue Water Film Festival celebrates the United Nations World Oceans Day—held annually on June 8th—and takes place in San Diego, home to the Scripps Oceanographic Institution. The theme of the BWFF is our blue planet and the purpose of the festival is to encourage attendees to think broadly and deeply about how climate change affects planet Earth and the universal concerns and actions needed to bring it into balance. About 50% of all film selections are non-US productions, helping to promote cross-cultural understanding through film.

BWFF is setup as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Learn more at

About Blue Water Institute
The year-round Blue Water Institute is a non-profit organization committed to nurturing the next generation of environmental filmmakers from all over the world. The Institute is driven by programs that discover and support filmmakers whose mission is to preserve the planet, develop ocean-based solutions, and create industry change.

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