Free Films for Students

SFIOFF's Free Student Education Program presents film screenings for students, who then participate in Q&A sessions with filmmakers, marine scientists, and industry experts.

Through the Education Program, SFIOFF aims to educate and inspire youth to:

  • Take an active role in protecting our vital ocean ecosystems
  • Participate in the arts and documentary filmmaking
  • Learn more about ocean-related careers

Deadline Extended, But Register Soon!

The deadline to register for 2016 is February 18. Spaces fill up quickly and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact SFIOFF's Education Program Coordinators as follows, or call us at (415) 561-6251.

Schools in San Francisco, San Mateo County, and the South Bay: Contact Sonia Gandiaga at 
Schools in Marin County and the East Bay: Contact Justin Gamm:

Our Vision

SFIOFF's vision for the Free Student Education Program, SFIOFF is to:

  • Extend our mission to many more students through road shows in the Bay Area and beyond
  • Provide a "live experience" of our film screenings and Q&A sessions with filmmakers and scientists in real time
  • Create a competition and awards program for best student films, serving to inspire budding documentary filmmakers
  • Establish SFIOFF as a working forum for Bay Area film studies and environmental studies programs
  • Provide students from diverse backgrounds and schools the opportunity to gather and learn — from each other as well as from experts from around the world

Last Year's Lineup

A sampling of films screened at the 2015 Free Student Education Program is below.

Sea Legend - film still

Sea Legend - Germany, 5 min: This great film is beautifully shot and is a strong reminder that we can save the world’s oceans. -SJPH

Of Whale and Men - film still

Of Whale and Men - USA, 7 min: This close encounter with humpback whales may have you asking yourself if we can learn something from these magnificent mammals. ­—VJ

Steve Shirley Shark Tagger - film still

Steve Shirley: Shark Tagger - USA, 11 min: The carefully planned strategy, the skillfully executed hunt, the victory! A shark is captured and radio-tagged for scientists to track and better understand the ways of its species. Once a shark trophy hunter, this man turns his skills to conserve, not kill, the sharks of San Francisco Bay and beyond. —MJS

The Big Pick - film still

The Big Pick - UK, 6 min: A big beach cleanup in a small cove on the coast of Cornwall in England yields more marine debris than one could imagine. In a matter of three hours, a group attempts every month to remove all the plastic on this beach, and determine what to do with it. —AB

Net Positiva - film still

Net Positiva - USA, 11 min: A trio of friends from Southern California head to the wild coastline of Chile on an aspiring quest to turn the negative—and inevitable—impact of discarded plastic fishing nets into something positive for the environment and the locals. —VJ

Deep Look Pygmy Seahorses - Masters of Camouflage

Deep Look - Pygmy Seahorses: Masters of Camouflage - USA, 2 min: Tiny and delicate, pygmy seahorses survive by attaching to vibrant corals where they become nearly invisible to predators (and researchers). But are they able to change appearance if they move to different corals? California Academy of Sciences biologists find the answer to this longtime mystery. —DB


Duct Tape Surfing - Australia, 4 min: A 280-pound, 12-year-old African-American boy from gang-plagued South Central Los Angeles and a 60-year-old white surfer dude discover through their love of surfing a mutual need—one for a mentor and father, the other for a son he never had. —SJPH

Coralax - film still

Coralax - USA, 6 min: What happens when coastline construction & development continues unfettered? It’s bad for reefs and all its inhabitants, as shown in this clever, student-made claymation film inspired by Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. —DB

The Odd Couple - film still

The Odd Couple - Scotland, 5 min: The sociable goby fish and the blind pistol shrimp are inseparable. They live together in a hole in the gravel, where the strong shrimp does the constant lifting while the fish keeps guard—if it isn’t distracted. —KH

The 2015 Education Program lineup also included selections from the 2015 Student Film Competition.