Sunday, August 29, 2010
Singer Paula Cole, accompanied by a drummer and acoustic guitar player, sang and played piano to open Saturday's BLUE Carpet Awards ceremony at Golden State Theatre, which recognized winners in 19 categories, and bestowed special awards for various luminaries.
Cole performed twice throughout the evening, including a hymn for which one refrain seemed freshly interjected--"Amen, for the BLUE Ocean Film Festival"--later reprising jazz standard "My One and Only Love" as well as her own hits like "I Don't Want to Wait."
Stratton Leopold, Paramount Pictures executive vice president and the producer of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Mission: Impossible III, presented the Making Waves award to siblings Celine and Fabien Cousteau, as well as their father, Jean-Michel. During his acceptance speech, Fabien held one of the 500 red beanie caps distributed over the last few days--an homage to his grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, whose 100th birthday was commemorated. (The 75th birthday of Dr. Sylvia Earle was also marked at the gala's afterparty.)
The portion in which the filmmakers were awarded in their categories moved at a unrushed but disciplined pace. A running game evolved out of the handing out of the statuettes by a striking blond woman and her bestowing a kiss upon the cheeksw of winners--two young winners passed on the "Italian" custom, whereas Jean-Michel Cousteau indulged in four cheek kisses, a kiss on the lips, and a warm hug. The categories and winners included:
Ocean Issues and Conservation: Bag It
Land-Sea Connection: The Bering Sea
National Marine Sanctuary Shorts: In the Wake of Giants (about rescue efforts to free whales from debris and fishing nets)
Featuring Monterey Bay: Il Mare di Joe (about Italian salmon fishermen who pass through Monterey on thier way to Alaska)
New Media (Dot Docs) by Google Earth: Willem and the Whales
Original Music: Disneynature OCEANS
Spanish Language: Lunchando por la Vida
Then came a memorial to Wes Sykes, an underwater photographer, cinematographer and cave diver who last month in a diving accident, and for whom National Geographic is devoting a special cover. Paula Cole performed "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone" in tribute.
Then the remainder of the awards were handed out, with filmmakers speaking briefly and affectionately to the packed audience.
Excellence in Underwater Filmmaking: Into the Dragon's Lair
Childrens' Programming: The Krill is Gone
Ocean Sports: Ultimate Wave Tahiti
Shorts: Acid Test
Marine Animal Behavior: Life, Fish (by the BBC)
Marine and Earth Sciences: One Ocean, Changing Sea
Ocean Exploration and Adventure: America's Underwater Treasures (by Jean-Michel Cousteau)
At this point, Dr. Sylvia Earle was introduced at the podium. She bestowed an award named after her to Carl Safina, whose speech was followed by the conclusion of the film awards.
Emerging Underwater Filmmaker: Where the Whales Sing
Non Broadcast: Isla Holbox, Whale Shark Island
Broadcast Program: Strange Days on Planet Earth (during the clips shown in this category, some in the audience elicited distressed moans when they saw footage of killer whales beaching themselves to snatch up sea lions, from the film Orca Killing School)
Theatrical: Disneynature OCEANS
The Jury Award went to Under the Sea 3D, while the Best of the Fest--last year The Cove won this one--went to the first category winner of the evening, Bag It.
After the show, everyone was entreated to walk down Alvarado to the afterparty at Monterey History and Maritime Museum, where silent auction memorabilia, Bryant Austin's large whale photo prints, wine and hors d'oeurvres awaited.
The festival concludes Sunday with more screenings, including BLUE festival winners, at all five participating venues, panel discussions, whale watching excursions, and a Sunday wrap party for volunteers and some pass holders. See website for details. Then wait for BLUE's return in 2012 with a whole fresh boatload of films.