The following post is an invited guest post by Austin Gallagher, the creator of the 'Beneath the Waves Film Festival'. Austin Gallagher is a PhD Student at the University of Miami and Co-Director of the festival.

In 2009, I was working on a small island in the South Pacific, taking courses for my masters, diving every day on coral reef habitats and collecting data for my first scientific paper. I remember thinking, ‘who would really read my scientific papers?’ Soon after, I became deeply interested in science communication (and have learned a lot from the folks here), and began brainstorming ideas on how to create a network focused on my passion – studying and observing the oceans.

I started a small film festival, a grassroots effort held in conjunction with the Benthic Ecology Meeting. Fast-forward three years and the ‘Beneath the Waves’ film festival (www.beneaththewavesfilmfest.org) is a thriving success. It provides a platform to discuss marine conservation issues through a series of short films made by researchers, amateurs and professionals from around the world.

While the festival’s flagship event occurs each March in conjunction with the Benthic Ecology Meeting, this summer the it is going on tour across the US West Coast for a series of unique public film screenings.

We’ve teamed up with PangeaSeed (www.pangeaseed.com), a truly one-of-a-kind international marine conservation group that combines art, photo, film, and research, to co-host a traveling art exhibit/film festival called the “Great West Coast Migration.” The show theme addresses the biggest threats facing the world’s oceans today, including the rapid depletion of sharks by the brutal fishing practice known as finning.

Each stop of the tour includes a night of art featuring some incredible ocean and shark themed art , as well as a second night of films and discussion of ocean issues.

The tour starts in Seattle in July, and migrates south through Portland, San Francisco, LA, Costa Mesa, and San Diego, and each night we are creating a unique film “setlist” to cater to the regional issues of each host city. All events will be free to the public and will showcase great marine-themed artwork and conservation films.

If you live on the west coast of the US, check out which stop is in your neck of the woods and stop by!

See below for a list of tour stops and links for times and more information.

Seattle, WA - July 14 – Roq la Rue

Portland, OR – July 21 – Grass Hut Co

• San Francisco, CA – July 28 – Spoke Art

• Los Angeles, CA – August 3 – LeBasse Projects

Costa Mesa, CA – August 11 – The ARTery

• San Diego, CA – August 19 – Space 4 Art

The first “tour diary” that will be shown on the tour can be viewed here:

https://vimeo.com/45592806

For more information on hosting your own Beneath the Waves event, and information on how to submit a film, please visit our website.