Shark documentary wins achievement award

The Newport Beach Film Festival documentary "This is Your Ocean: Sharks," was recognized by MacGillivray Freeman Films with the Special Achievement Award in Environmental Filmmaking, a MacGillivray spokeswoman announced Friday.

The film was set to be screened Friday night at the Regency Lido Theatre as the festival's "Eco Spotlight."

"Sharks play a critical role in the health of our oceans," said film director George C. Schellenger in a prepared statement. "The decisions we make right now determine the future of these animals. It's critical that we see them differently and this film shifts the paradigm."

The 44-minute documentary takes the audience into the natural habitat of sharks in the Bahamas and offers a cautionary look at what would happen to the natural ecosystem if sharks were wiped out.

"'This is Your Ocean: Sharks' is an emotional film that will completely shake up people's perceptions of sharks," said Greg MacGillivray, a Newport Harbor High School alumnus. "The film's interesting camera work puts viewers eye to eye with these incredible creatures and creates an experience most people will never have: the chance to actually swim with sharks."

He continued: "What we learn is that sharks are not the monsters depicted in film and television, but extraordinary creatures that more and more need our protection."

The 2011 festival will also mark the first year of the annual MacGillivray Freeman Films Award in Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking, according to a press release.

As the festival continues, two documentaries will also receive the Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking award. Both feature length and short documentaries entered into the festival were considered, according to a press release.

The award goes to those that "best exemplify artistic achievement and innovation in the field of documentary filmmaking," according to the release. Winners receive a cash award and recognition at the festival.

"MacGillivray Freeman Films is synonymous with world-class documentary filmmaking, having produced some of the world's most popular documentaries, including the IMAX blockbuster 'Everest' and the Oscar-nominated 'The Living Sea,'" said Gregg Schwenk, the festival's chief executive and executive director in a prepared statement. "We are honored to partner with Orange County's most celebrated filmmaker and we look forward to working together to highlight the growing documentary presence at the festival."

Pilot Picks -- Saturday

“Saturday Morning Cartoons – Chuck Jones”: A collection of Chuck Jones' work, featuring beloved characters like Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, Pepe¿ le Pew, Marvin the Martian, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. Showing at 11 a.m. at the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas.

“The Mystery Of Sleep”: An exploration of the strange and relatively unknown world of sleep. Showing at 1:15 p.m. at the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas.

“Like a Lion”: The story of Tanner Hall, the most successful and most controversial skier of the last decade and the way his high-risk, high-adrenaline life demonstrates the kind of courage that compels the best to continually come back from life’s toughest blows. Showing at 3:15 p.m. at the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas.

“The Redemption of General Butt Naked”: The true story of a brutal warlord-turned-evangelist and his crusade to redeem his past. Showing at 3:15 p.m. at the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas.

“Project Nim”: The story of Nim, the chimpanzee who became the focus of a landmark 1970s experiment that aimed to prove an ape, if raised and nurtured like a human child, could learn to communicate. Showing at 8 p.m. at the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas.

Source: The Newport Beach Film Festival

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