The 9th annual San Diego Undersea Film Exhibition (UFEX) was two weekends ago, August 22 and 23, at the magnificent Qualcomm Hall auditorium, with its state of the art digital projection system. Thirty two of the 60 films submitted made the final cut, all but five in high definition. Attendance numbered over 900 for the two nights.
The first exhibition was held in 2000, featuring short videos limited to 5 minutes maximum, with no entry fees and no prizes except for the distinction of having your film selected by the panel of three independent judges. The same principles are in force today, as the show has become international in scope with near sellout crowds. Eight countries were represented among the film makers this year.
Several Wetpixel members were represented. Paul and Kelly Wags’ “A Call to Action” showed the environmental dilemma confronting the government of Western Australia. Bill McDonald’s “Raja Ampat” showed the diversity of that destination. Eric Hanauer’s “If You Chase Them, They Will Run” was a plea to divers to stop chasing marine animals.
Mark Santa Maria’s disturbing footage of divers abusing manatees was entitled, “A Choice for Change.” Champ Williams showed amazing slo-mo macro of nudibranchs devouring sea pens in “Attack of the Sea Slug.” Kathy and Mike Schnetzer’s “A Little Thing Called Love” showed underwater mating from attraction through birth. Shawn Henrich’s “Sardine Run” had amazing footage of whales, dolphins and birds scarfing fishes off the coast of Africa. Jim and Pat Stayer’s “Killer Clown” was about clownfishes fighting off a turtle to protect their anemone. The Schnetzers, Mike Boom, Simon Spear, Rick Morris, Mike Elliott, and Walter Marti all had two films that made the cut. Several new film makers were represented for the first time at UFEX, including Jeff Leicher, James Kurtz, Kimberly Frye, John Muhilly, Pete Fowler, and Guille Cervera.
The organizing committee has become incorporated, and is awaiting federal notification of nonprofit status. All proceeds are plowed back into the organization for future exhibitions. The organizing committee consisted of Chuck Nicklin, Mary Lynn Price, Karen Straus, Ken Given, Eric Hanauer, Mick Hutchins, Gene Lafferty, John Ellerbrock, Barbara Lloyd, and Bob Gladden.
Next year the 10th UFEX will be held at the same venue, Qualcomm Hall, on Friday and Saturday night, September 11th and 12th. The deadline for entries will be about two months prior to the show. Check the website, www.sdufex.com for updates. The call for entries will also be posted on Wetpixel about 6 months before the show.