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Beneath The Waves Film Festival

UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

On April 5th, the Beneath The Waves Film Festival takes place at the coast.  The festival includes a variety of films highlighting coastal issues, a panel discussion with local scientists, and booths showcasing marine science that happens in Carteret County.

The North Carolina Science Festival begins this weekend with presentations on nanoscience, astronomy, zoology, alternative energy solutions, and ecosystem conservation.  A signature event of the statewide Science Festival takes place at the coast next weekend.  The Beneath the Waves Film Festival will showcase short films highlighting coastal issues and research conducted in North Carolina waters free of charge on April 5th.

“I kind of got this idea to create a really unique platform for the dissemination of scientific results.  We really wanted to turn the idea of a film festival upside down.”

Austin Gallagher is the President and Director of the Beneath the Waves.  He created the nonprofit in 2009 as a way to raise public awareness of ocean conservation and marine science through short films.

Credit UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

“Scientists travel to amazing places, they do really cool research, use really cool tools, and have all these really unique research toys and a lot of them today are actually using recording devices and cameras to capture data and to document the process of science.  So we thought it would be really great to give them an outlet or a platform to create these short stories in the form of a film and really spread that to as many people as possible to really amplify there message.”

The Beneath the Waves Festival in coastal North Carolina is one of about 25 events held around the country each year.  A variety of three to 10 minute films will be shown at the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort at 2pm.

“Some of them are short comedies, animations, you’re going to see a little bit of everything.  You could see a story about sea urchin research in the Galapagos, but a lot of these stories are going to focus on local issues.”

Credit UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

Some of the topics that will be discussed include oyster reefs, climate change, aquaculture, marine debris, and ocean conservation.  Two of the films focus exclusively on coastal North Carolina and were produced by local graduate students.  Avery Paxton is a grad student at the University of North Carolina’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City.

“One is called ‘Saving North Carolina’s Reefs’ and focuses on the importance of threats to and even research on how to restore our valuable oyster reefs.  And that film was created by UNC graduate students Justin Ridge, Michele Brodeur, Rachel Gittman, and Joe Morton.  While the second one is called ‘Windy People’ and it was created by a collaborative group of UNC and Duke graduates.  And this one is really interesting because it tells the story of how people of the Outer Banks are affected by barrier island change and sea level rise.  So it really brings everything back to the human dimension of why we in Carteret County should care.”

On Friday, April 4th, scientists from IMS, Duke University Marine Lab, NC State’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology and other local marine science institutions will travel to eight schools in Carteret County to host a mini film festival.  President and Director of the Beneath the Waves Austin Gallagher.

“reaching out to the youth is incredibly important, that’s one of our primary goals.  They are the next generation of voters, the next generation of engineers, the next generation of people driving this country forward.  We’re going to be reaching out to kindergarten all the way to the 12th grade.  This is actually going to be a really unique opportunity to get into the classrooms, get the kids excited, get them talking and you dim the lights and present these short messages to them, they really become entertained and they become enthralled.”

Credit UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

Gallagher says they hope to inspire a passion for marine science and coastal conservation in the younger generation.   The Beneath the Waves Film Festival takes place April 5th at 2pm at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.  In addition to the films, a panel of local scientists will be on hand to answer questions and talk about the film’s relevance to issues in our state.  Institute of Marine Sciences grad student Avery Paxton.

“so it’s not just an event where we show the film, the audience will be able to ask questions and the panel will answer them.  We hope it will be an interactive afternoon.”

For more information on the free film festival, visit and click on the events calendar.  I’m Jared Brumbaugh.

For more information on the Beneath the Waves Film Festival, go to:

Jared Brumbaugh is the Assistant General Manager for Public Radio East. An Eastern North Carolina native, Jared began his professional public radio career at Public Radio East while he was a student at Craven Community College earning his degree in Electronics Engineering Technology. During his 15+ years at Public Radio East, he has served as an award-winning journalist, producer, and on-air host. When not at the station, Jared enjoys hiking, traveling, and honing his culinary skills.