Categorized | Entertainment, Featured

Waimea Ocean Film Festival kicks off with gala opening

About 75 people gathered Wednesday evening to open the first Waimea Ocean Film Festival. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

The inaugural Waimea Ocean Film Festival kicked off Wednesday evening with a gala opening event at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai that included clips from some of the featured films and a quick talk from acclaimed producer Jake Eberts.

The festival runs through Sunday, Jan. 9, with screenings of 30 films at a handful of venues in Waimea and the Kohala Coast.

Film makers, artists, photographers and experts in the field of oceanography and conservation will host breakfast talks, presentations and Q&A sessions throughout the festival.

Jake Eberts addresses the audience at the gala opening. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

At the opening gala, Eberts praised the festival for showcasing works that might not otherwise find an audience.

Eberts has been involved in more than 60 motion pictures that have been nominated for Oscars 66 times and raked in more than $1.5 billion at box offices worldwide.

He brought with him the 2009 documentary ‘Oceans’ and has scheduled a Q&A and discussion time after screenings this week.

With more than 75 percent of Hollywood’s summer films being either sequels, remakes or adaptations of previous films, Eberts said festivals allow storytellers to share their work more widely.

“Storytelling is at the root of every culture, every family and even every business,” he said. “Storytelling through movies is crucial in changing our world.”

Film makers are turning to corporate sponsors to make the movies that Hollywood and government won’t embrace and are turning out works of art that can change the world or inspire people to change their own worlds.

Big Island marine biologist and film maker Charles Fasano is showcasing a 30-minute excerpt of ‘Hawaii’s Undersea Ohana.’

“People always say ‘oh, it’s such a wonderful view,’ but all they are seeing is the surface of the ocean,” he said. “They have no idea what’s underneath. My film shows a little bit about the ohana that is underwater.”

Fasano said he is grateful for the opportunity to give a sneak peek at his film, which won’t officially be released until next month.

“This festival is a wonderful opportunity to display our work to a broader audience,” he said. “It’s not just surf films or environmental films. This festival seems to capture the entire scheme of oceans, above and below the surface.”

Tania Howard introduces some of the film makers in attendance. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Executive director of the non-profit Waimea Ocean Film Festival Tania Howard said she was pleased to finally open the event after six months planning.

“This evening was just wonderful. It feels really good,” she said. “To have all of these films together is amazing and we are really fortunate to have our guests here, too. These are absolutely beautiful films that deserve to be seen. There is a power and beauty to seeing films on the big screen with a room full of other people.”

Howard said the festival doesn’t have a specific mission statement as she doesn’t want to color people’s perspectives.

“All the films have there own story to tell, but all together they really help us understand more about our oceans,” she said.

For tickets and further information, call the festival offices at (808)854 6095 or email:

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(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

2 Responses to “Waimea Ocean Film Festival kicks off with gala opening”

  1. Margaret Kearns says:

    Wishing the organizers of this absolutely amazing collection of films, speakers, photographers and artists huge succes with this debut Big Island event. Opening night provided an entertaining, enlightening, energizing peek at what’s to come over the the next four days of festival presentations and activities. Not-to-be missed — so much talent, delivering exquisitely beautiful reminders about caring for our amazing, precious one-and-only planet earth! Kudos to all involved for bringing this festival to Hawaii Island.


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