BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit, November 6–9, 2015, Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Article: Debbie Kinder, co-founder and CEO of Blue Ocean Film Festival and Ocean Conservation Summit (BLUE)

Since the beginning of time, the ocean waters have sustained and nurtured humanity. Like many people, I am drawn to the mysteries of uncharted waters and species of the Earth’s oceans. But, like so many millions of others, I also am drawn to the sea to seek solace and serenity. Compelled to devote my life to being an “Earth Ambassador,” I have made it my mission to encourage everyone I come in contact with to take an active role in becoming stewards of the ocean and protecting this amazing lifegiving resource. I founded the BLUE Ocean Film Festival with my husband, Charles Kinder, in 2007. By gathering filmmakers, scientists, explorers, conservationists, and celebrities from around the world for a three-day event of film screenings, industry workshops, and keynote speakers, the BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit (BLUE) aims to broaden the voice of ocean stewardship.

I am thrilled to tell you our international film festival has grown to become the Oscars of ocean filmmaking. BLUE is important because the festival connects industry leaders with directors, photographers, and other artists who are doing important work and exploration. This festival honors the ocean and will hopefully have an impact on the people who attend the festival way after the festival ends. We want people to leave and continue the work of protecting our waters in their communities and in the way they live their lives.

Ocean cinematography takes someone like me to places I will never journey on my own. And to see the fragile beauty that exists below the surface does have a powerful pull on your heart and can forever change your worldview. The BLUE screening of Racing Extinction, directed by Louie Psihoyos, who won an Academy Award for The Cove, is sure to be one such movie event. With keynote speakers like Sylvia Earle, PhD, and Celine Cousteau talking about the importance of our oceans, this festival is all about preserving the outdoors and the importance of our oceans for all life.

BLUE takes place in Monaco every other year, alternating with St. Petersburg, Florida. Monaco became the second home of BLUE in 2013 when a strategic partnership was announced with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. While BLUE 2015 will focus on global ocean issues, including the ocean’s role in climate change, international attention will be drawn to Monaco’s commitment to environmental sustainability and ocean conservation as ocean leaders and filmmakers convene on its shores three weeks before COP21 in Paris November 30 through December 11) to put forward solutions.

The BLUE Legacy Award will go to HSH Prince Albert II, the reigning monarch of the Principality of Monaco.

“This event uses the power of film, photography, entertainment, and science to educate, empower, and inspire ocean stewardship around the globe. To awaken consciousness toward environmental protection more effectively, our best weapons are those that win over our hearts and minds,” says Prince Albert II.
Photo from Sea Legacy’s Pole to Pole exhibit at BLUE 2015 in Monaco

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