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Blue Water Film Festival to anchor in La Jolla

The Conrad performing arts center building at sunset,yellow pink and purple sky with clouds and palm trees. event site for the blue water film festival.

“A moving image is everything,” said Greg Reitman, local resident and founder of the Blue Water Institute.

The institute will be moving its fifth annual Blue Water Film Festival into town from Thursday, March 21 through Sunday, March 24.

Over the four days, the film festival, which will be headquartered in La Jolla, showing 40 films, including 13 feature films and 27 shorts, at locations like The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, La Jolla High School and the La Jolla/Riford Library.

Other San Diego locations are also included.

There will be an awards show at the conclusion of the festival, with films judged by different panels of judges for each category. 

The Blue Water Institute is a San Diego nonprofit Reitman established in 2020 to “amplify environmental storytellers,” Reitman said. 

Reitman, a filmmaker whose piece “Fuel” won the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award, found that many filmmakers lack opportunities to “make their stories really shine.” 

“I really felt that with the current change in our climate, and the uncertainty of where we are today, I thought that this particular purpose was really, really important,” he said.

Film is an important vehicle for social change, Reitman said, as “the impact of cinema … can permeate into our hearts, into our minds.”

The institute’s purpose, then, is to find and showcase films that “draw in and … provide a conversation piece into” various issues, he said.

This year’s iteration of the film festival is particularly exciting, Reitman believes, with a world premiere of a film called “Whale Nation” and a live painting component during which selected artists will paint underwater creatures at different spaces.

There will also be several animated films:

“I love the idea of being able to show family-friendly films to this community and doing it in a way where kids can really learn and be educated,” Reitman said. “Animation is a really great tool for that.”

Reitman uses his industry knowledge and visits to film festivals worldwide to discover talent for the festival. 

La Jolla, and the greater San Diego region, is a “perfect place” for the Blue Water Film Festival, he said.

As La Jolla is home to places like UC San Diego and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, it’s “a beacon … in terms of oceanographic understanding and science and marine science,” Reitman said. “There’s a real appetite [here] for this sort of content.”

Fueling that hunger are local organizations like the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans, a La Jolla-based nonprofit that is a Blue Water presenting sponsor this year.

Partnering with Walter Munk Foundation and other similar institutions encourages Reitman, he said.

“We have very complex problems that really can’t be solved by individuals. It requires a collective community and a collective coherence to help us move forward.”’

View the film schedule and buy tickets at bluewaterfilmfestival.org.

Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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