Saturday, January 20, 2018
Business

BLUE Ocean film festival coming to St. Petersburg

It isn't quite like nabbing Sundance or Cannes, but St. Petersburg still will get its share of celebrity in 2014 when the BLUE Ocean Film Festival relocates to the city from California.

The festival is one of the biggest environmental documentary film events in the world, with projects from the likes of 60 Minutes, National Geographic, the Smithsonian Channel and Telemundo. The seven-day event draws about 20,000 people, organizers said.

BLUE Ocean will announce the event's move from Monterey, Calif., to St. Petersburg during a news conference today in Monaco, on the French Riviera. Monaco's Prince Albert II has made the festival one of his pet projects.

The festival will be held in St. Petersburg in even-numbered years beginning in November 2014 and in Monaco in odd-numbered years in 2015 and thereafter.

A local announcement is scheduled for Oct. 14 at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, which owns the Tampa Bay Times.

"This is one of the most prestigious environmental film festivals," said D.T. Minich, chief executive officer of the Pinellas tourism agency Visit St. Pete/Clearwater. "They bring in some huge names from throughout the world. This is going to be a fantastic event for St. Petersburg."

The BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit's move to St. Petersburg is a homecoming of sorts. In 2008, Debbie Kinder, BLUE Ocean's founder and chief executive officer, incorporated the nonprofit organization in Clearwater, where she and her family live.

Kinder's star-studded board includes the son and the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, Google's ocean manager, a vice president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and leaders from National Geographic.

"I've been very impressed with what she's been able to do," said John Welch, founder of the Sarasota Film Festival and one of Kinder's early board members. "She's done a marvelous thing."

Board members determined that the festival had outgrown Monterey, home of a world-renowned aquarium. After the 2012 festival, the board considered such locations as San Diego but settled on St. Petersburg after traveling to the Tampa Bay area for a meeting.

Before the trip, some board members had opposed moving the event to St. Petersburg.

"We were like, 'Why are we going to St. Pete?' " asked board member Mari Carswell, chief executive officer of Blue Earth Communications Inc. "We got there, and we were like, 'Wow!' "

Carswell said the vote to move to St. Petersburg was unanimous because of all of the museums, the arts community and people who were more than welcoming.

"Even our people who were most against it turned around in 48 hours," said Kinder, herself an award-winning documentary filmmaker. "The waterfront has grown a lot. It's beautiful."

The program that will run from Nov. 2 to 9, 2014, will include three parts: the film festival that showcases leading ocean films and marine photography; a conference for filmmakers, photographers and scientists; and a conservation summit.

"We really merge the arts and sciences," Kinder said.

The nonprofit program's design enables the general public, as well as industry professionals, to participate. Events include marine education programs for schoolchildren and special screenings of films by award-winning filmmakers such as James Cameron.

Best known for directing Hollywood blockbusters including The Terminator, Aliens and Avatar, Cameron was honored last year with BLUE Ocean's lifetime achievement award for his work on such films as Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron, Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, Expedition: Bismarck and Ghosts of the Abyss.

The BayWalk Muvico theater will become home to the film festival, with other events, meetings and parties planned for the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, the Salvador Dalí Museum, the Chihuly Collection gallery and other venues.

"It's going to put this area on the map in terms of environmental issues," Minich said. "I think it's going to be really huge."

Ivan Penn can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2332.

Comments
Tampa Bay jobs chief Ed Peachey making top dollar

Tampa Bay jobs chief Ed Peachey making top dollar

For years, Edward Peachey has bragged about the number of jobless people he has helped find work.As president and CEO of CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, he’s in charge of the two main government agencies that provide training to the...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

The state has opened an investigation into CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, days after the Tampa Bay Times asked about whether the two regional job centers were inflating the number of people they had helped get hired. The agencies, ...
Published: 01/19/18
Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

TAMPA — You could sketch an economic history of the city of Tampa — and maybe get a glimpse of its future — just by looking at the old J. Seidenberg & Co./Havana-American Cigar Factory.It opened in 1894, making it Ybor City’s second-oldest brick ciga...
Published: 01/19/18

Want to buy into an exchanged-traded bitcoin fund? You might have a long wait

NEW YORK — It may be a while, if ever, before investors can buy an exchange-traded fund made up of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Federal regulators have a long list of questions they want answered before they’ll approve a digital currency fun...
Published: 01/19/18
Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

A Georgia mother has gone viral for charging her 5-year-old "rent." Yup — the kid pays up for food, water, cable and electric, too.Essense Evans described in a Facebook post how she handles her daughter’s allowance. The post, written on Saturday, was...
Published: 01/19/18

Addicted to your smartphone? Now there’s an app for that

Did you text? Sorry, I can’t see messages right now. Arianna Huffington locked my phone.The media tycoon turned wellness entrepreneur wants to keep you out of your phone, too, with a new app called Thrive. Its goal is to make it cool for a generation...
Published: 01/19/18
Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

ST. PETERSBURG — Tony Jannus’s history-making flight in an early seaplane — simultaneously as ungainly and graceful as a pelican on the wing — is what Mayor Rick Kriseman calls an "under-told and under-appreciated" story, but a team of local history ...
Published: 01/19/18
Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — The newest hope for transportation in the Tampa Bay area is a bus rapid transit system projected to cover the 41-miles separating St. Petersburg from Wesley Chapel and attract 4,500 new riders at a fraction of the cost of light rail....
Published: 01/19/18
Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

ST. PETERSBURG — Transportation planners on Friday unveiled a new transit vision for Tampa Bay leaders on Friday morning: Bus rapid transit.Also known as BRT, it has arisen as the leading option in an ongoing study to find the best regional transit p...
Published: 01/19/18
Amazon boosts monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

Amazon boosts monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

NEW YORK — Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership monthly plan by nearly 20 percent. The fee of $99 for an annual membership will not change, the company said Friday. The online retailer had added the monthly payment option about two yea...
Published: 01/19/18