Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The 15th International Ocean Film Festival announced its annual award winners today live on the International Ocean Film Festival Facebook page. Its Ana Blanco and David McGuire, chairman of the screening committee, described the awards as the “Academy Awards of Ocean” where 155 submissions from 29 countries were reviewed and honored.

* Coastal Culture Award: Islands and the Whales about the Faroe Islands
* Conservation Award: Seeking Sanctuary about shark protection
* Environment Award: Reefs at Risk about how coral reefs are suffering due to suntan lotion
* Short Award: Agave Gun about a soul surfer
* Wildlife Award: Albatross about a bird
* Directors Award: Lionfish, New Pirates of the Caribbean about lionfish in the Atlantic Ocean
* Adventure Award: Touched by the Oceans about two Latvians across the ocean
* Citizen Science Award: Return of the Harbor Porpoises
* Golden Gate Award: KIM SWIMS

Filmmaker Kate Webber won the Golden Gate Award for her first career film. KIM SWIMS is the story behind the improbable rise in the global open water swimming world of native Kiwi Kimberley Chambers and opens the International Ocean Film Festival in her adopted home of San Francisco, California.

KIM SWIMS has been invited to be the opening night film at this year’s 15th annual festival beginning on March 8th,” says Webber, its director and film visionary.

Not only is it a very special festival dedicated to all things ocean, but that day also happens to be International Women’s Day, a global day that celebrates the achievements of all women, and underscores the need for programs dedicated to gender parity.

The festival is the biggest of its kind in North America, featuring dozens of ocean-themed films by independent filmmakers from around the globe. All of us involved with KIM SWIMS are honored and excited that the film continues to garner interest at such strong film festivals. For those of you based in the Bay Area, tickets for our opening night screening of KIM SWIMS are available for purchase
.”

Tickets generally sell out fast to the open night screening at Cowell Theater in San Francisco that includes a welcome party and film and question and answer period with the film producers and the protagonist about her swim of 30 miles from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge.

To purchase tickets, visit here.

For more information, visit oceanfilmfest.org.

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