International Ocean Film Festival
In honor of our Off the Reef Fall Benefit keynote speaker, Dr. Sylvia Earle of Mission Blue, we are launching the Sylvia Stories! We'll be speaking with some of our ocean heroes, and sharing their individual Sylvia Story - how they are inspired by "Her Deepness" herself.
Today, we sat down with Ana Blanco, Executive Director of the International Ocean Film Festival (IOFF). Ana has been honored to hear Sylvia speak, and notes Sylvia's spirit infectious - she makes everyone want to take action immediately. In Ana's case, it was taking the plunge (literally!) and learning how to scuba.
IOFF: Tell us about yourself. What first interested you in the ocean?
Ana: I moved to Lima, Peru from Texas when I was eleven years old to live there and meet my Dad's family. It was my first visit to the Pacific Ocean. As we came down the malecon to the shore, I was mesmerized by the beauty, the smell and the vastness of the ocean. I didn't want to leave it was so amazing!
IOFF: How has Sylvia Earle’s voice and work inspired you?
Ana: Hearing Sylvia speak so passionately about how to protect our oceans, one can't help but want to get involved and do something - to become the solution! Her dedication is contagious and her spirit infectious - she makes everyone want to do something immediately and to tell others to do the same.
IOFF: What is an example of recent policy changes or conservation wins that are good for the ocean and planet? How can we catalyze more of those?
Ana: One popular policy change that comes to mind is so many cities across the United States are banning the use of plastic straws in restaurants and encouraging them to not use straws at all, or to switch to paper straws. The best way to catalyze more change is through the power of film - and the power of speaking to your legislators.
We look forward to sharing more Sylvia Stories leading up to the benefit. Make sure to follow us on social media and use the hashtag #SylviaStories to share your own story.
The Off the Reef Fall Benefit is hosted Saturday November 2nd in San Francisco, CA. All proceeds benefit the Student Education Program a free film program hosted in March for over 1,200 Bay Area middle and high school students. For more information and tickets, visit our website here.