San Francisco Ocean Film Festival

For the past two years I have had two films that I’ve produced featured at the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival. This past year the folks at the film festival interviewed me about my current film “Isla Holbox/Whale Shark Island”.  It was an honor to be recognized and to share with them input into the making and inspiration behind my film.

Filmmaker Q&A: Kip Evans, “Isla Holbox / Whale Shark Island”

Don’t miss the World Premiere of “Isla Holbox / Whale Shark Island,” by Bay Area filmmaker Kip Evans, at the 7th Annual San Francisco Ocean Film Festival.

The film will premiere during the shark program on Saturday, February 6 at 10am.
Check out the full festival lineup and purchase your ticket today!

What is your overall summary for the film?
Whale sharks are widely distributed in all tropical and warm temperate seas throughout the world. One particular island off the coast of Mexico boasts a large population of migratory whale sharks. Isla Holbox (pronounced “hole-bosh”) was a well-kept secret until 6 years ago, when whale sharks were discovered right off its coast. Once a small fishing village with just 1600 year-round residents, Holbox has since become a popular summer tourist destination. Although whale sharks are generally considered solitary animals, they congregate in the waters surrounding Holbox to feed and mate during the summer months. The island is now one of the top places in the world to see and swim with these gentle giants. This film highlights some of the successes and concerns as Holbox transitions from a fishing community to an ecotourism destination.

What was your inspiration for creating the film?
I was inspired by the positive changes that have taken place on Holbox and by the concern that the pendulum could swing in the opposite direction if steps aren’t taken to limit the number of tourist operators in the area.

What was the most challenging part of creating the film?
The most challenging part was dealing with the logistics of getting to the whale sharks. Normally the sharks are within a 30 – 40 minute boat ride, but during our trip they were over 50 miles from shore. Once we were on site, it was relatively easy, but there were long trips to and from the island.

What do you want to impart on your film’s viewers?
Despite their large size, whale sharks are actually quite vulnerable. Not only are they still being fished commercially, they are being run over by commercial ships in the open sea. You can’t just project the whale sharks in small reserves like Holbox. They need protection throughout their migration range.

What was the most enjoyable part of creating the film?
Without a doubt swimming with the whale sharks was the most enjoyable part of creating this film. There were times when I would just sit in the water and watch theses giants swim by without even lifting my camera.

Who is your inspiration?
This film is part of a series we are creating to highlight “Hope Spots”, areas in the ocean that need our protection, or that can serve as ambassadors for hope. Dr. Sylvia Earle is the inspiration for this film.

How or why did you begin creating ocean-focused films?
I’ve worked on ocean-related projects for more than 20 years. It was a natural evolution to transition into film because of my love for photography.

Why did you choose to submit your film to the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival?
The San Francisco Ocean Film festival is in my own backyard and the people here care a lot about ocean issues. I think it’s a great venue for making a difference.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?
I’m thrilled to be a part of this film festival and all the positive attention it brings to the environmental challenges we face today.

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