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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOAA 04 - R465
August 9, 2004

CONTACT:
Gail Krueger
Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
(912) 598-2397

GRAY’S REEF NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY SPONSORS SAVANNAH OCEAN FILM FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 10-12

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary will sponsor the Savannah Ocean Film Festival Sept. 10-12 at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Trustees Theater and the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration manages the sanctuary.

The goal of the free festival is to educate, inspire, entertain and foster a spirit of ocean stewardship through the screening of films that explore our relationship with the sea.

“Film and video have been the most powerful force in revealing the complexity and beauty of our underwater world,” said Sanctuary Manager Reed Bohne. “From the pioneering images of Jacques Cousteau to today’s IMAX and digital imagery, our generation can explore the ocean frontier as never before. Gray’s Reef is bringing this festival of ocean films to Savannah to celebrate the marine conservation worldwide and to encourage commitment to sustaining healthy oceans and coasts.”

A highlight of the festival will be the screening of the film “Proteus” by David Lebrun at Trustees Theater. “Proteus” premiered at the 2004 Sundance film festival and was the winner of best documentary at the 2004 Philadelphia and Santa Cruz film festivals.

Two films produced by undersea explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau—“Keiko: Born to be Wild’’ and “Keiko: The Gate to Freedom”—will also be screened. Neither film, both based on the life of the killer whale of “Free Willie” fame, has been shown in the United States before. In addition, Bob Talbot’s film “Oceanmen-Extreme Dive,” the story of two men and their attempt to free dive deeper than anyone has ever dared—more than 500 feet on a single breath of air-- will be shown. Both Cousteau and Talbot are on the board of directors for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

The festival will include an entire day of free children’s programming at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center Sunday, Sept. 12, featuring educational videos about sea creatures and marine life. Popcorn will be served with the videos in the Center’s upstairs classroom. Special programming related to the videos will take place throughout the day.

The Savannah College of Art and Design’s Trustees Theater on Broughton Street will be the venue for most of the three-day film festival. All programs in the Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival will be free to the public.

Free tickets for all screenings at Trustees Theater may be picked up at the SCAD Box Office located at 216 East Broughton Street, Monday - Friday 10 a.m. -
5 p.m. Tickets may also be picked up on the day of the screenings at the SCAD Box Office beginning at 9 a.m. Tickets will be available beginning Sept. 1. No phone reservations will be accepted. For more information on the Ocean Film Festival, call (912) 598-2345.

Designated in 1981, GRNMS is one of the largest near shore live-bottom reefs off the southeastern United States, encompassing approximately 17 square nautical miles. GRNMS consists of a series of sandstone outcroppings and ledges up to ten feet in height, in a predominantly sandy, flat-bottomed sea floor. The live bottom and ledge habitat support an abundant reef fish and invertebrate community. Loggerhead sea turtles, a threatened species, also use Gray’s Reef year-round for foraging and resting, and the reef is within the known winter calving ground for the highly endangered Northern Right Whale.

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one coral reef ecosystem reserve that encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service manages the NMSP and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. The National Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.


On the Web:
NOAA - http://www.noaa.gov
NOAA’s National Ocean Service - http://oceanservice.noaa.gov
National Marine Sanctuary Program - http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary - http://www.graysreef.noaa.gov

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