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First annual World Whale Film Festival showcases local artist-activists

By Staff | Feb 9, 2017

KAANAPALI – Free and open to the public, the World Whale Film Festival debuts Saturday, Feb. 11, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. The festival’s theme, “Conservation in Motion,” showcases multimedia works by visual storytellers, including seasoned professional filmmakers, photographers and digital artists, as well as up-and-coming conservation advocates like Kulia Kaufman.

Kulia, 11, a student at Haleakala Waldorf School in Makawao, will present a short-form documentary called “Sea of Blue Giants,” which she wrote and produced with Selket Guzman. Kulia is also the film’s narrator and on-screen adventure guide as she travels to Isla de Chilo in search of the rare Chilean Blue Whale. “It’s great that I get to help the whales and create art at the same time,” said Kulia, the youngest daughter of Pacific Whale Foundation founder Greg Kaufman. “I hope my film and this film festival is the first of many more to come.”

The World Whale Film Festival is offered free to the community in an effort to raise awareness and inspire conservation efforts to protect the world’s oceans and marine wildlife.

“People will be surprised, delighted and inspired by these captivating stories,” said Greg, who will be presenting a film on humpback whales and whalewatching in Puerto Lpez, Ecuador. “Our goal is to bring together bright, passionate minds to promote learning and activism by provoking conversations that matter.”

Other multimedia artists scheduled to participate in the World Whale Film Festival along with Kulia and Greg Kaufman are Robert Baldwin, Chris Cilfone, Torsten Durken, David Fleetham, Selket Guzman, Jeannette Heidrick, Karim Iliya and Nick Wood. In addition to screening their passion projects, each participant will share what they hope to achieve through their work and the inspiration behind it.

Presenters will also be taking part in an interactive VIP Whalewatch the following Sunday, Feb. 12, from Lahaina Harbor. Whale watchers will receive first-hand insights from Greg Kaufman, as well as a commemorative World Whale Day Celebration T-shirt. The film festival is part of World Whale Day Celebrations, a series of events in February hosted by Pacific Whale Foundation in honor of Maui’s humpback whales. Other upcoming celebrations include the World Whale Day & Parade of Whales on Feb. 18; Great Whale Count on Feb. 25; and VIP Whalewatch or Sunset Cocktail Sail with Greg Kaufman on Feb. 10, 11, 12, 26 and 27.

For more information on these and other events, visit www.worldwhaleday.org or call (808) 249-8811, extension 1.