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Blue Water Film Festival champions the environment

Patrick Dykstra and one of the sperm whales he follows and photographs in the documentary "Patrick and the Whale."
Terra Mater Studios
Patrick Dykstra and one of the sperm whales he follows and photographs in the documentary "Patrick and the Whale."

The 4th Annual Blue Water Film Festival kicks off tonight at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) and celebrates United Nations' World Oceans Day.

Blue Water Film Festival is a festival with a cause. It’s committed to the preservation of the planet and the need to nurture the next generation of environmental filmmakers. And those filmmakers are inspiring audiences to see the world in new ways.

The festival opens with the feature documentary "Who Are the Marcuses?" and the short film "The Water Walker" at MOPA. The Marcuses, the documentary informs us, were Holocaust refugees who retired in San Diego and left an endowment to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev that provided funds for leading-edge development in water science for Israel and the world. Director Matthew Mishory will be in attendance at the screening.

Blue Water Film Festival Trailer

In another documentary, "Patrick and the Whale" (screening June 9 at La Paloma Theater), we are taken to the underwater world of sperm whales to appreciate their close knit community, threatened status, and to hear them communicate.

Patrick Dykstra swims with the whales and captures amazing images of what he refers to as "extraterrestrial" beings. An opening scene showed a group of sperm whales sleeping like upright pillars — it truly looked otherworldly. The film is also available streaming, but should look spectacular on the screen at La Paloma Theater.

In the short film "Generation Impact: The Scientist" (screening June 10 at Digital Gym Cinema), we see how issues such as climate change are motivating teenagers like Emily Tianshi to activism. At 13 she set up a garage lab with a $20 microscope and began to study San Diego’s unique Torrey Pine trees to find out how they are able to produce moisture from the atmosphere.

There are also narrative films such as "Blueback" (screening June 10 at Digital Gym Cinema with filmmaker Robert Connolly in attendance) that use the ocean and environmental concerns as the backdrop for a drama about a mother and daughter and their relationship to the water around them.

There is also a collection of short animated films.


Opening night of Blue Water Film Festival is at MOPA, and then it moves to multiple venues through Sunday. It showcases dozens of shorts, features, and documentaries designed to make us more aware of the world and the water around us.