Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films returns June 5th

Sport, marine life and the illegal wildlife trade top selections at Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films

The Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films (VFOF) returns on June 5th, with an array of short documentaries, and a feature film from Academy Award-winning American director Louie Psihoyos. Films focus on the the ocean as a place for adventure, sport, responsible commerce but, most importantly, as a home to unique wilderness that merits respect and protection.

The Festival coincides with raising awareness about World Oceans Day, celebrated every year on June 8th since its declaration in 1992 by the United Nations at the urging of Canada.

“Risk is a theme that permeates many of this year’s films, whether the epic swells that surfer Andrew Cotton chases with his body or the coal projects, oil pipelines and tankers that threaten our coastal Salish Sea,” says Christianne Wilhelmson, executive director of Georgia Strait Alliance, the official charitable partner of the Festival.

Audiences are invited to experience the breathtaking scenery – both above and below the ocean – that has come to characterize this Festival, as well as filmmakers’ inherent desires to highlight and express ways to address global challenges for the world’s oceans.

A combination of short and feature-length films brilliantly, and beautifully, capture:

  • big wave surfing
  • scuba diving
  • treequestration
  • dolphins, sharks and plankton
  • the Salish Sea
  • the combination of global illegal wildlife trade and acidified oceans, which are both
    responsible for speeding up species extinction

“We are thrilled to be continuing our our longstanding partnership with the the Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films, which has been bringing awareness to our oceans for seven years,” says Wilhelmson.

Movies are playing at the Vancity Theatre on June 5, 2016. Show times are 4pm and 7:30pm. Tickets are $15 for a single screening, or $25 for the double header.

The Festival is made possible with the support of the following sponsors: lead sponsor MEC,
Deep Cove Kayak, Vancity, Shelter Island Marina and Boatyard, and media sponsor The Georgia Straight.

Net profits will be donated to Georgia Strait Alliance to assist with the organization’s mission to protect and restore the marine environment, and promote the sustainability of the Strait of Georgia, its adjoining waters and communities.

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Single screening: $15 | Double header: $25
Purchase online

About the Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films
The Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films is dedicated to the issues, personalities and sports of the world’s oceans. The goal is to present a broad experience that will increase awareness about relationships with oceans, while educating and motivating audiences:

About Georgia Strait Alliance
The non-profit conservation organization collaborates with individuals, businesses and government to protect and restore the marine environment, and promote the sustainability of the Strait of Georgia, its adjoining waters, and communities:

Christianne Wilhelmson Executive Director Georgia Strait Alliance
Phone: 604.633.0530 |  Email:


4pm matinee

Moving the Giants (15 minutes) | Director Michael Ramsey | Trailer

Follow arborist David Milarch as he clones some of the world’s most ancient and largest living things – California’s coastal redwoods, which are among the most effective carbon sequestration tools in the world – and replants them farther north in Oregon were they once thrived. For the past two decades, Milarch has been combating climate change by adding to the mere 5 per cent of redwoods that remained, and he’s helping to restore the planet’s health by re-charing a positive course for humanity through “treequestration.”

“When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. The second best time? Today.”
—Chinese proverb

This Living Salish Sea (15 minutes) | Director Sarama | Trailer

This film explores the living treasures of the Salish Sea, and the powerful undercurrents of resistance to the barrage of coal, oil pipelines, tankers and LNG exports that threaten this body of water. A film about beauty, hope, and about the great spirit of humanity working together to make this a better world.

“The natural world’s wellness is our wellness.”

Ireland’s Oceans (47 minutes) | Director Ken O’Sullivan | Trailer

‘Ireland’s Ocean’ explores the wildlife that lives in the seas around Ireland by documenting dolphins, sharks, stingrays and the myriad of wonderful and colourful creatures in these temperate seas. The film is a journey that encounters an abundance of exotic creatures, many documented for the first time in this area. It looks at the history of our relationship with and response to the sea in Ireland, and questions why we love dolphins, why we dislike sharks, and on what our fears of the ocean are based. Throughout the film there is a strong sense of the interconnectedness of life, and natural balance within this world, as creatures depend on each depend on one other’s presence to sustain life.

The film was made in the winter of 2014, when the largest ocean storms on our planet hit the West coast of Ireland, and it is one of the first documentaries in Europe shot with the RED Epic 5K camera underwater.

Reflections of an Underwater Cameraman (6 minutes) | Director Ken O’Sullivan | Trailer

Filmmaker Ken O’Sullivan specializes in filming underwater. In this short, he creates a thoughtful essay about his work and life, which he dedicates to diving, surfing and documenting the beauty and the wonders of the marine world in the seas around his home of Ireland.

“Time slows down when you free dive. Time to interpret this world; these animals.”
—Ken O’Sullivan

Behind the Lines: Deeper (35 minutes) | Director Mikey Corker | Trailer

Follow big wave surfing hero Andrew Cotton as he hunts down the world’s most epic swells. Extreme adventure, grueling training, high-level risk and incredible performance – and it’s all for the six-seconds of glory that the perfect wave brings. Filmed in five countries, this movie takes you deep behind the scenes of one of the most extreme sports on the planet today.

As the waves are getting bigger, the consequences are higher.

7:30pm evening show

Racing Extinction (95 minutes) | Director Academy Award winner Louie Psihoyos | Trailer

There’s something happening in our world today, and we can’t afford to ignore it any longer. Species are going extinct 1,000 times faster than they naturally should. The reason? The hidden worlds of the global illegal wildlife trade, and carbon emissions and acidified oceans that are incompatible with existing animal life.

Using covert tactics and state-of-the-art technology, the Racing Extinction team exposes these two worlds, with never-before-seen images, in an inspiring affirmation to preserve life as we know it. From the Academy Award® Winning Filmmakers of “The Cove,” director Louie Psihoyos, and the Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), believes we’ve entered the sixth major extinction in Earth’s history, following the fifth great extinction which took out the dinosaurs. Our era is called the Anthropocene, or “Age of Man,” because evidence shows that humanity has sparked a cataclysmic change of the world’s natural environment and animal life – and we are the only ones who can stop the change we’ve created.

“It’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness.”