The 2007 World Festival of Underwater Pictures at Antibes, France concluded earlier this week with Sunday’s screenings of this year’s prize winning entries. Capping off five days of underwater films, photo exhibits, and slide shows, the festival was also a great opportunity for abundant networking and merry-making. With festival entrants hailing from over 60 countries worldwide, the awards ceremony saw numerous prizes going to several Wetpixel contributors and forum regulars.
Among this year’s prize winners were Wetpixel associate editor Alex Mustard (World Prize for Book of Underwater Images), Mark Thorpe (Short Fiim Public Prize), Danny Van Belle (sweeping three separate short film prize prize categories including the Short Film Gold Prize), Julie Edwards (Best Image of Apneist Prize), and Scubazoo (Special Mention World Prize Book of Underwater Images). Leandro Blanco received the prestigious F.F.C.V. (French Federation of Cinema and Video) Prize. Leandro’s award-winning short film “One for All” can be viewed as the latest episode of DiveFilm Podcast Video. For a full list of prize winners in English, see the festival’s listing (PDF).
Wetpixel underwater imagers were well represented this year at the Antibes festival both through their numerous entries in a wide variety of categories from films and stills to books and websites, and through their attendance in person, traveling to the festival from at least five different countries. A booth hosted by DivePhotoGuide and Wetpixel served as a gathering place for people to meet and enjoy special spirits and beverages. Gyula Somogyi (Jules of Helioxfilm.com) facilitated the exhibition booth presence, including the very popular evening happy hour gatherings. Thank you, Jules!
Celebrating its 34th year as a world venue for underwater images, the World Festival of Underwater Pictures dedicated this year’s event to the 60th anniversary of Aqua Lung, the company based on the Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) invented by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emille Gagnan.
However, this year’s festival was also unfortunately marred by the controversial decision to hold the event at Marineland in Antibes, France, as a number of individuals and organizations elected to stay away from the event this year based on opposition to the theme park’s captive cetacean (orca and dolphin) program.
The Festival Mondial de L’Image Sous-Marine at Antibes, France was first held in 1974, and has grown immensely since then. Organized by a non-profit foundation, the festival’s mission includes: to protect and conserve the photographs, films, videos and all images whatever the medium, entrusted to the World Festival of Underwater Pictures, and ensure the protection of copyright on the documents; and to foster and promote by all possible means knowledge and protection of the marine environment, its flora, fauna, its environment, its ecology and its natural wealth. For more information, please visit their website at Underwater-Festival.com.