The action-packed 2017 Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Ocean Film) offers a stunning lineup of films, special guests, intimate coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits, receptions and morning activities, running non-stop January 2-10. The annual event opens the morning of January 2, with films playing simultaneously January 2-5 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu Theatre, HPA Gates, Parker Theatre) and at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. On January 6, the festival moves to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.
Ocean Film brings over 60 films to the big screen this year—most of which are world, U.S., Hawai‘i or Big Island premieres—with many filmmakers in attendance to answer questions following the showing of each film. The format of this dynamic festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture through exceptional films, talks, exhibits and activities. Films fall into the basic categories of ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling); ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea—and island culture. Inspirational, thought-provoking films and those that shed light on who we are infuse the program, sharing the extraordinary.
Former U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Dr. Titley, Ph.D., joins the festival for discussion following the showing of the film The Age of Consequences, in which he is featured.
Dr. Titley’s career as a naval officer included duties as commander of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command; oceanographer and navigator of the Navy; and deputy assistant chief of naval operations for information dominance. While serving in the Pentagon, Dr. Titley led the U.S. Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change. Dr. Titley also gives a Breakfast Talk and presentation on the topics of climate as a security risk, the military’s clean energy revolution and the opportunities the U.S. has to take the lead for climate change.
Producer Adam Leipzig joins the festival for discussion following A Plastic Ocean and a talk sharing what it takes to have a movie made. A former president of National Geographic Films and a senior vice president at Walt Disney Studios, Leipzig’s film credits include March of the Penguins, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Dead Poets Society and Titus. His movies have won or been nominated for numerous accolades, including 10 Academy Awards.
The Oscar-winning producer of “Spotlight,” Blye Faust, discusses the importance of investigative journalism today. NBC News Producer Mario Garcia shares stories behind the scenes from the production of Dateline NBC: On Assignment at Palmyra Atoll and from his 20 years at NBC News, during which time he covered stories on all seven continents and earned three National Emmys for outstanding coverage in broadcast news.
BBC film director Tom Mustill returns to this year’s festival with the BBC production Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants and again brings the festival’s 2016 Director’s Choice Award winner, Bat Man of Mexico. Director of the festival’s 2016 People’s Choice winner, Unbranded, Ben Masters also returns to the festival, sharing stories about his cattle roundup with Parker Ranch cowboys following the festival last year, along with three short films.
Harold Mintz, right-hand man to previous festival guest Tom Shadyac, shares the inspiring film 1.800.Give.Us.Your.Kidney, which tells his story and how he opted to become a living kidney donor to an unknown person in need. Mintz speaks to high school students around the country, with the title reflecting the humor he brings to his talks. Producer Marty Syjeco brings the ultimately uplifting Almost Sunrise to the festival, as it follows two Iraq War veterans, Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson, as they embark on an extraordinary journey—a 2,700-mile walk across the country—to find answers for themselves, and others, on the way.
For the dramatic surf line-up, Beneath the Surface and Red Chargers feature big wave surf partners Andrew Cotton and Garrett McNamara as they seek ever-larger swells in the Atlantic and at Nazaré, Portugal. It was Andrew Cotton who towed Haleiwa-raised McNamara into what became verified as the world record for the largest wave surfed, at 78 feet. McNamara also signs copies of his memoir, HOUND OF THE SEA: Wild Man. Wild Waves. Wild Wisdom.
Mark Healey heads to the festival for a few surf film Q&A sessions, a preview of his next surf film and a talk about how different ocean communities can help move ocean stewardship forward. Filmmaker Curt Morgan of Brain Farm brings View From a Blue Moon, sharing perhaps the most beautiful surf film cinematography yet to be seen. Applying Brain Farm’s signature high-action sports techniques to the natural history genre, Morgan also brings Nat Geo Wild’s Wild Yellowstone: Grizzly Summer to the festival. The film features never-before-seen footage of the park, along with a storyboard of funny, cute and harrowing encounters among the animals that reside there.
Bud Browne Film Archives’ Linked In provides a window into surfing in the 60s. Rarely shown, and only screened live in a few locations, the Waimea Ocean Film Festival is one of a handful of viewing locations chosen by Bud Browne Film Archives to showcase these heritage films. Anna Trent Moore, curator of the collection, also presents the film, Bud Browne’s People, along with the book she penned, Going Surfin’, and a book signing follows. Moore also awards the second annual Bud Browne Surf Film Award, the first was awarded to Garrett McNamara for the film Nazaré Calling during the festival last year.
Dr. M. Sanjayan, Ph.D, an Emmy nominated news contributor and executive vice president for Conservation International, brings a virtual realty presentation to the festival, featuring an immersive experience in the reefs of Raja Ampat. Sanjayan speaks about the making of the film for a few select group showings. Conservation International also staffs a virtual reality booth where the film can be viewed.
Considered pre-eminent among underwater filmmakers, Howard and Michele Hall answer questions following Ocean Stories: Howard and Michele Hall. Howard also worked as director of underwater cinematography and Michele as location manager and underwater still photographer for MacGillivray’s Freeman Films’ feature, Humpback Whales—one of the all-time audience favorites shown at the festival and winner of the 2016 Best Film-Ocean Environment award. With the Halls present to answer questions, and whale season as the backdrop, Humpback Whales will be shown at the festival again in 2017, providing an up-close look at how and why humpbacks communicate, sing, feed, breach, play, take care of their young and migrate nearly 10,000 miles each year.
Dr. Drew Harvell, Ph.D., Cornell University professor and curator of the Blaschka Marine Invertebrates collection, brings A Fragile Legacy, which visualizes the story of the 1885 Cornell University purchase of over 500 Blaschka Glass models of marine invertabrates for use in teaching marine biology. Forgotten, the collection is now helping scientists try to understand the changes occuring in the ocean.
Released in the spring of 2016, Harvell’s book, A Sea of Glass, has been featured and reviewed by Discover, Scientific American, The Guardian, The New York Times and Nature, with full chapters excerpted in Natural History and American Scientist. It recently won the National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature and was picked as one of the best eight “Art Meets Science” books of 2016 by Smithsonian magazine. Dr. Harvell will be on-hand for discussion of the project and book signing.
In seeking solutions, the E2 series, which shares solutions to energy issues, returns with episodes Melbourne-Reborn and Seoul. Melbourne Reborn chronicles the transformation from dying city to vibrant, livable streets, walkways and community as a result of visionary leadership and the conversion of alleys to walkways and highways to light rail and pedestrian streets, along with policy designed to green buildings. Seoul traces the project to demolish a downtown freeway to uncover and restore the ancient Cheonggyecheon stream that once flowed beneath it, now again a vital part of the city’s commercial and tourism sectors.
For a taste of adventure, Eric Bendick shares the beautifully filmed Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida, featuring the cinematography and work of renowned photographer Carlton Ward, Jr. U.S. Skijor team co-captain Kale Casey brings the dog-powered sports of skijor to life with Dog Power. Harlan Taney offers the BBC production, Operation Grand Canyon with Dan Snow, as the BBC works to re-create the experience of the Powell expedition through the Grand Canyon in 1869. An American Ascent chronicles the efforts of the first African American team to tackle Denali, as team members seek to become role models encouraging other African Americans outdoors.
Sure to be in the running for the festival’s Audience Choice award this year, The Weekend Sailor brings the exciting tale of the first Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, now the Volvo Ocean Race, when self-made Mexican businessman Ramon Carlín bought a boat, assembled a crew and entered the race. Director Bernardo Arsuaga attends to answer questions.
Producer Phil Arnone returns with the KGMB production, Jim Nabors’ Impossible Dream, detailing the story of the Hawai’i resident known to millions as Gomer Pyle. Im/Perfection shares the story of Oʻahu architect Hitoshi Hida, whose work graces the cityscapes of Honolulu and who remains one of the few architects to do pencil renderings by hand. Oʻahu based filmmaker Kimberlee Bassford brings films with Hawai‘i roots: Winning Girl, Lotus Root: A Great Granddaugter’s Journey and Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority. In addition, Mele Murals shares the background of the mural painted last year on the side of Waimea’s Kahilu Theatre.
This year, Hokule‘a sailed the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, touched land in South America, and sailed as far as Nova Scotia. The Voyager Exhibit, on display at Kahilu Theatre, shares the story with up-to-the minute images of the 2016 voyage. The exhibit, including the 8×13-foot world map developed as part of the festival to highlight the Worldwide Voyage (WWV) route, opens at Kahilu Theatre with a blessing and ceremony 4 p.m. January 2. Master (Pwo) Navigator and Makali‘i Captain Chadd Paishon leads a discussion sharing background about the journey 10 – 11 a.m. January 2-5 in front of the WWV map in Kahilu Theatre.
Big island-raised Alison Teal returns to the festival with another episode of Alison’s Adventures.
Art weaves its way throughout the 2017 festival. Bonnie Cherni offers classes in ocean-inspired origami January 2-5 at The Fairmont Orchid and January 7 at Four Seasons.
Painter Sophie Twigg-Smith Teururai, granddaughter of noted artist William Twigg-Smith, presents a full exhibit of recent works at The Fairmont Orchid January 2-5 and at Four Seasons Resort January 7. Teururai provided the cover art for the festival program this year.
Tiffany’s Art Agency exhibits the work of noted local artist Mary Spears and photographer Cathy Shine January 2-5 at The Fairmont Orchid and January 7 at Four Seasons Resort.
Puako-based painter Christian Enns displays his artistry at the new Enns Gallery in the lobby at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and offers the chance to observe him in action to gain a sense of his process, 5-7 p.m. January 2-5 at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel with a Meet the Artist reception 5 p.m. January 5.
Selections and film synopsis from the 2017 film lineup include:
The Accord (Iceland/RC Cone)
The Age of Consequences (USA/Jared P. Scott)•
Alison’s Adventures: British Columbia (USA/Alison Teal)•
Almost Sunrise (USA/Michael Collins)•
An American Ascent (USA/Andy Adkins, George Potter)
Atlantic (Ireland/Risteard O’Domhnaill)
The Bat Man of Mexico (UK/Tom Mustill)•
Beneath the Surface (UK/Mikey Corker)•
Bud Browne’s Surfers (USA/Anna Trent Moore)•
Call Me Peg Leg (UK/Josh Hine)
The Canary Islands-World of the Fire Mountains (Austria/Michael Schlamberger)
Catching the Sun (USA/Shalini Kantayya)
Con Amor Yago (Brazil, Gabriel Novis)
Dateline NBC: On Assignment at Palmyra Atoll (USA/Mario Garcia, Julie Kim)•
Distance Between Dreams (USA/Rob Bruce)
Dog Power (USA/Jordan Schevene & Kale Casey)•
E2-Seoul (USA/Tad Fettig)
E2-Melbourne Reborn (USA/Tad Fettig)
Eclipse (Canada/Anthony Bonello)
Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida (USA/Eric Bendick)•
A Fragile Legacy (USA/David Brown)•
Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants (BBC/UK/Tom Mustill)•
1-800-Give-Us-Your-Kidney (USA/Samantha Smith)•
Hokule‘a Worldwide Voyage: New York (‘Oiwi TV/USA/Kapua Roback)•
Humpback Whales (USA/Greg MacGillivray)•
Im/Perfection (USA/Andrew Hida)
Jim Nabors’ Impossible Dream (KGMB/USA)•
The Joy of Surfing (UK/Simon Cotter)
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story (Canada/Grant Baldwin)
Locked In (USA/Bud Browne)•
Lotus Root: A Great Granddaughter’s Journey (USA/Kimberlee Bassford)•
Making an Ancient Forest (Austria/Rita Schlamberger)
Martin’s Boat (USA/Peter McBride)•
The Marvelous Musical Report (USA/Laura & Robert Sams)
Mele Murals (USA/Tadashi Nakamura)
Merchants of Doubt (USA/Robert Kenner)
My Haggan Dream (USA/Laura &Robert Sams)
Ocean Stories: Michele and Howard Hall (USA/Patrick Creadon)•
Operation Grand Canyon with Dan Snow (BBC/UK)•
Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority (USA/Kimberlee Bassford)•
Peninsula Mitre (Argentina/Joaquin & Julian Azulay)
Planet Ocean (France/Yann Arthus-Betrand, Michael Pitiot)
A Plastic Ocean (USA, UK & Hong Kong/Craig Leeson)•
Pronghorn Revival (USA/Ben Masters)•
Red Chargers (USA/Rocky Romano)•
Sea Youth (USA/Chelsea Odufu)
Shorebreak: The Clark Little Story (USA/Peter King)
Sonic Sea (USA/Michelle Dougherty, Daniel Hinerfeld)
Spotlight (USA/Tom McCarthy)•
Unbranded (USA/Phillip Baribeau)•
Valen’s Reef (USA/Imraan Ismail)•
Vamizi-Cradle of Coral (Sweden/Mattias Klum)
View from a Blue Moon (USA/John John Florence, Blake Vincent Kueny)•
The Voyage of Swell (USA/Liz Clark, Teva Perrone)
Water from Stone (USA/Ben Masters)•
The Weekend Sailor (Mexico/Bernardo Arsuaga)•
Wild Horse Resolution (USA/Ben Masters)•
National Geographic Wild Yellowstone: Grizzly Summer (USA/National Geo)•
Winning Girl (USA/Kimberlee Bassford)•
- Filmmaker/Presenter attending Ocean Film and leading discussion
The full lineup of films and the complete festival program will be available to download at www.waimeaoceanfilm.org around December 19. Festival passes can be purchased via the website or at 808-854-6095. Kama‘aina/early rates are available in advance by contacting the festival office through December 19 and gift passes are available.
The Waimea Ocean Film Festival is a 501c3 organization made possible through the support of patrons, sponsors and the community. Mahalo to the 2017 Ocean Film partners: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Holualoa Inn, Matson, K2 Imaging, Coast Grille, Sushi Rock, Mai Grille, Big Island Brewhaus, Big Island Traveler, Maile Charters, Mauna Lani Sea Adventures, Kamuela Inn, Starbucks Coffee, Anna Ranch Heritage Center, Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA), Parker School, West Hawaii Today, Hawaii Tribune Herald, Kona Law, Emily T Gail Show, The Beach FM and The Wave FM.