Blue Water Film Festival Honors Jane Goodall, World Surfer Damien Hobgood and Announces Film Festival Award Winners

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“The Witness is a Whale,” “Soul of the Ocean,” “Aquateam - Sea Adventure,” and “The Cost of Free Water” Receive Top Jury Prizes

This year’s festival will not only be remembered as a gathering of extraordinary environmental filmmakers but a reminder of how important it is to bring community together”
— Greg Reitman, Festival Director and Founder
SAN DIEGO, CA, UNITED STATES, June 6, 2022 / -- The 3rd Annual Blue Water Film Festival (BWFF) announced this year’s juried award winners at the Closing Night Award Ceremony on Sunday, June 5, 2022 at La Paloma Theater. The festival, held from June 2-5, screened over 35 films in feature, short and animated categories.

“This year’s festival will not only be remembered as a gathering of extraordinary environmental filmmakers with truly compelling stories about our oceans, water and the environment but a reminder of how important it is to bring community together,” said Greg Reitman, Festival Director and Founder. “We are honored to showcase some of the best environmental films curated around the globe. We consciously seek these culturally significant environmental stories that are the voices of our oceans.”

included “The Witness is a Whale,” directed by Nick and Cheryl Dean for best documentary feature film; short film, “The Fish & The Flame,” directed by Nick Hutchinson; Best Animated Short Film, “AquaTeam - Sea Adventure,'' directed by Massimo Montigiani; Best Cinematography winner, “Soul of the Ocean,” by Howard and Michele Hall; Producer’s Vision Award, “The Cost of Free Water,” by Amelie Lambert Bouchard and Elodie Pollet; Director’s Vision, “The Witness is a Whale,” by Nick and Cheryl Dean, and Best Science Film, “Archipelago New York: An Island City,” directed by Thomas Halaczinsky.

BWFF Film Awards

Global Citizen Award
Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute; UN Messenger of Peace

Eco Here Award
Damian Hopgood. Legendary World Surfer

Grand Jury Best Feature Documentary Film
WINNER: The Witness Is A Whale, directed by Nick & Cheryl Dean

Jury members were Laura Kutnick (Founder of Dale & Laura Kutnick Foundation), Mark Benjamin (Emmy Producer) and Wolfgang Knopfler (Sea of Shadows, The Ivory Game).

Grand Jury Best Short Film
WINNER: The Fish & The Flame, directed by Nick Hutchinson

Jury members were Jean Thoren (President, Animation Magazine), Byron Martin (Producer) and Louie Psihoyos (Academy Award Winner, The Cove).

Grand Jury Best Short Animated Film
WINNER:  AquaTeam - Sea Adventure directed by Massimo Montigiani

Jury members were Greg Reitman (Festival Director and Producer FUEL, Rooted in Peace) Jean Thoren (President, Animation Magazine), and Professor Karl Bardosh (NYU-Tisch).

Best Cinematography
WINNER: Soul of the Ocean, director of Photography by Howard Hall

Best Science Film
WINNER: Archipelago New York: An Island City, directed by Thomas Halaczinsky

Producers Vision Award
WINNER: Cost of Free Water. Produced by Amelie Lambert Bouchard and Elodie Pollet

Directors Vision Award
WINNER: The Witness is A Whale. Directed by Cheryl & Nick Dean

The opening night reception and screening was sponsored by DELL Technology and showcased Mike Libecki “Inside Antarctica” at the MOPA - Museum Of Photography. The Vistal Bar & Restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel hosted this year's filmmaker brunch where $15,000 in prizes were given to attending filmmakers beginning with DELL Technology, Lectrosonics, FilmIc Pro, and LumaTouch were presented to the winners.

BWFF is grateful to have the support of the Dale and Laura Kutnick Foundation; Media Sponsor Animation Magazine and Earth Sponsors DELL Technology, and NVIDIA; Eco Sponsors including 1% for the Planet, Atlantis Philippines Dive Resorts, Aura Cacia, Baja Brewing, Dr. Bronner, Eco Bags, Eliah Sahil Organics, FilmIc Pro, Lectrosonics, Luma Touch, Lumen Wines, Make Pizza & Salad, Open Water, Pure Project, Scuba Pro, Shearwater, UC San Diego and the San Diego community support of local arts supporters.


About Blue Water Film Festival

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

BWFF is an official 501(c)(3) non-profit. Learn more at


About the Blue Water Institute

The year-round Blue Water Institute’s purpose is to innovate for ocean-based solutions and to develop the next set of environmental filmmakers for industry change. Blue Water Institute is a non-profit organization committed to the preservation of the planet and the need to nurture the next generation of environmental filmmakers. The Institute is driven by its environmental programs that discover, innovate and support the next generation of environmental filmmakers from all over the world.


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