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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOAA05-R431
April 15, 2005

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

GRAY'S REEF NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY SPONSORS SAVANNAH OCEAN FILM FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 23-25

The Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary will sponsor the second annual Savannah Ocean Film Festival Sept. 23-25, 2005, at the Savannah College of Art and Design's Trustees Theater and the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, manages the sanctuary. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"The enthusiasm in Savannah and the region generated by last year's successful film festival has inspired us to expand the event this year," said Sanctuary Manager Reed Bohne. "We hope to include art and music elements this year and engage other organizations in the community in celebration of our ocean and coastal environments. We encourage additional sponsors to join the event."

Films about shipwrecks, maritime heritage, sea turtles, whales and undersea exploration are planned for this year's free, three-day festival. The event will also include short films from the Alaska Ocean Film Festival. The festival will again include free children's programming at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center.

The Savannah College of Art and Design's Trustees Theater on Broughton Street will be the venue for most of the festival. All programs in the Savannah Ocean Film Festival will be free to the public.

The goal of the 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.

The 2004 Savannah Ocean Film Festival was a first for the East Coast and the first ocean film festival sponsored entirely by a national marine sanctuary. Two films produced by undersea explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau received their premiere U.S. showing at the event, and the film "Proteus" made its east coast debut at the event.

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, NOAA's 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. NOAA's 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
NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary: http://www.graysreef.noaa.gov


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