Geneva/New York – Jackson Hole Wild, the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced the finalists of the World Wildlife Day 2019 Living Oceans Showcase, three weeks prior to the World Wildlife Day - 3 March. Final winners will be announced at the United Nations Headquarters in New York at a high-level event on 1st March to celebrate the World Wildlife Day 2019.

The ocean and 'life below water' have sustained human civilization and development for millennia. Despite their importance for sustainable development, marine species are facing various threats and are in need of our immediate attention if we want to ensure that they can continue to fulfill that role during our lifetimes and for future generations. To emphasize the importance of this issue, Jackson Hole Wild, the CITES Secretariat and UNDP have come together once again to organize a film showcase for World Wildlife Day. This year, the theme 'Life Below Water: For People and Planet' will spotlight threatened species, highlight the problems we are facing and the ideas we can use to tackle them.

Judges, professional filmmakers, marine biologists and stakeholders from around the world chose the finalists from more than 235 entries in 6 categories:Ocean Heroes; People and Oceans; Ocean Issues and Solutions; Marine Life; Ocean Short; and Ocean Micro-Movie.

Both winners and finalist films will be subsequently showcased extensively to raise global awareness of the importance of marine species and the critical challenges they face at community screening events presented by partners throughout the world, including free educational screening events for students as well as for local communities around the world to take action to protect and restore our planet’s oceans.

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: “We are most grateful to all the filmmakers for submitting their wonderful works. By using the power of media, we can catalyze deeper understanding of the importance of life below water and the chances to ensure the sustainable use of marine species. CITES provides a safety net for our threatened marine life and it has a long history of regulating international trade in marine species to ensure that this trade does not threaten their survival.  On this World Wildlife Day, let’s recognize the positive contributions that life below water makes to our everyday lives and – no matter who we are or where we are – make conscious decisions to ensure that it can continue to do so for generations to come.”

“We applaud the storytellers behind these visually beautiful and evocative films,” says Jackson Hole Wild Executive Director, Lisa Samford. “The power of media is certain to draw attention to the urgent threats facing the world’s ocean ecosystems and species and inspire action necessary to restore and protect them.”

World Wildlife Day Film Showcase: Living Oceans Finalists under different categories are:

Ocean Heroes:

'A Feather to Kill' - BlueVoice in association with Mundo Azul and OceanCare
'Chasing The Thunder' - Brick City TV and Vulcan Productions, Discovery
'Mission Blue' - A Netflix Original Documentary-Insurgent Media-True Blue Films- Diamond Docs
'SHARK GIRL' - Kaufmann Productions Pty Ltd

People and Oceans:

'Ghost Fleet' - Seahorse Productions, Vulcan Productions
'Humpback Whales: A Detective Story' - Gripping Films for BBC Natural World and PBS Nature
'Jago: A Life Underwater' - Produced by James Reed for Underdog Films. In association with James Morgan Films, Fantomline Films and Vistaar Productions.

Ocean Issues and Solutions:

'Huntwatch' -  Produced by IFAW
'Racing Extinction' - Okeanos – Foundation for the Sea and Discovery Channel present an Oceanic Preservation Society Film In association with Vulcan Productions, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, Earth Day Texas, JP's Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation, Diamond Docs, and Insurgent Docs
'Sonic Sea' - Discovery Channel presents a film by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Imaginary Forces in association with the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Diamond Docs

Marine Life:

'Blue Planet II - One Ocean' -  BBC Studios Natural History Unit
'My Octopus Teacher' - Sea Change Project & Off the Fence - A ZDFE company
'SHARK-Episode 1' - BBC, BBC Worldwide, Discovery
'Whale Wisdom' - A TERRA MATER FACTUAL STUDIOS production in co-production with DOCLIGHTS / NDR NATURFILM in association with ARTE FRANCE / Unité Découverte et Connaissance produced by WILD LOGIC

Ocean Short:

'A Place For Penguins' - Tom Parry in association with the University of the West of England
'A Voice Above Nature' - Annie Moir in association with the University of the West of England
'The Secret Life of Plankton' - Parafilms, Tara Expeditions Foundation, TEDed
'The Southern Right Whale' - Lyra Films
'Treasures From The Tides' - Catherine Brookes in association with the University of the West of England

Ocean Micro-Movie (under five minutes):

'Into the Deep Unknown' - Novus Select / bioGraphic
'Our Underwater States of America' - OceanX, Bloomberg Philanthropies
'Radio Free Orca' - Great Big Story
'The Deepest Dive in Antarctica Reveals a Sea Floor Teeming With Life' - OceanX, BBC Earth
'The Edge' - Steer Films / 333 Productions
'The Snail-Smashing, Fish-Spearing, Eye-Popping Mantis Shrimp | Deep Look' - KQED, PBS Digital Studios

Honourable Mentions:

'Anote’s Ark' - EyeSteelFilm
'Becoming Visible' - Vanishing Present Productions
'Blue Planet II: Our Blue Planet' - BBC Studios Natural History Unit
'Coastal Fisheries Initiative - Peru and Ecuador' - PNUD Perú
'Gwala Rising' - Conservation International, Eco-Custodian Advocates, PNG
'Perempuan' - Conservation International
'Revolution' - Diatribe Pictures, Revolutionary Films, Inc.
'The End of Sushi' - The Water Brothers, SK Films
'The Canary Islands - World of the Fire Mountains' - ScienceVision Filmproduction, ORF, NDR/doclights, ORF Enterprise, SVT, DR
'Toxic Puzzle' - Scandinature Films USA Inc, Sveriges Television SVT
'Vey nou Lagon' - Vey nou Lagon Ltd, ​Vanina Harel, Zara Currimjee

The CITES Secretariat is designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the global facilitator for the celebration of the World Wildlife Day each year in collaboration with organizations in the United Nations system.

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact: Dana Grant, (307) 200-3286 ext. 3, dana@jhfestival.org

To arrange free community screening events, please contact: Melanie Judd, (307) 200-3286 ext. 4, melanie@jhfestival.org

About CITES

With 183 Parties (182 countries + the European Union), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) remains one of the world's most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of trade. Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, health care, housing, tourist souvenirs, cosmetics or fashion. CITES regulates international trade in over 36,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, to ensure their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable. CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975.

About Jackson Hole Wild

Jackson Hole Wild  programs promote public awareness and stewardship of wildlife and wildlife habitat through the innovative use of media. Since 1991, its annual conferences draw together international leaders in science, conservation, broadcasting and media. For three days in 2017, committed wild cats advocates convened for the Jackson Hole Conservation Summit (21-27 September), to share resources and strategies, address critical challenges and brainstorm innovative approaches for collaboration. They will join 650+ of the world’s most influential filmmakers and commissioners at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival to celebrate the world’s finest nature programming and explore innovative ways to integrate media centrally into the battle against global wildlife crime.

About the United Nations World Wildlife Day

On 20 December 2013, the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3 March as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The date is the day of the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. World Wildlife Day has quickly become the most prominent global annual event dedicated to wildlife. It is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the various challenges faced by these species. The day also reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.

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