Maui Arts & Entertainment

Whale nonprofit hosts its 6th Annual World Whale Film Festival on June 8

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The film Ocean Guardians will have its premiere at the 6th Annual World Whale Film Festival on Maui on June 8

The nonprofit conservation organization Pacific Whale Foundation plans to hold its 6th Annual World Whale Film Festival on World Ocean Day on June 8.

The evening event will be held at Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery in Upcountry Maui.

The event features dinner, drinks and a curated set of films that include stories about ocean and wildlife conservation, environmental stewardship, and indigenous ecological knowledge.


Started six years ago by late PWF Founder Greg Kaufman and his wife Selket, the film festival serves as a platform for emerging and seasoned filmmakers who focus on protecting the ocean through science and advocacy and inspire environmental stewardship.

“Our goal from the beginning was to inform and inspire the people of Maui,” said Kaufman. She said the pandemic sparked the introduction of an online component providing an even greater opportunity for global awareness.

“The festival blossomed as our definition of community expanded to include a global audience that support our mission,” she said.


The festival will premiere the nonprofit organization’s most recent documentary produced by Selket, “Ocean Guardians.”

“Ocean Guardians is a story about migration, perseverance, connectiveness and cooperation,” Kaufman said. “We’re looking forward to sharing it at this year’s festival along with other impactful films that embody PWF’s belief in the power of storytelling to evoke change.”

Additional films spotlighted during the festival include

  • Entangled,” by David Abel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter that addresses ongoing efforts to protect the North American right whale from extinction and the struggle to balance the interests of conservation groups and lobster-industry lobbyists;
  • This Mortal Plastik,” an experimental documentary by award-winning media artist and filmmaker Jess Irish which is playfully crafted with hand-drawn illustrations and poetic interludes, crosses the world’s oceans in an attempt to understand the contemporary landscape of single-use synthetics; and
  • The documentary short “Healing Land, Healing People,” shot entirely on Maui and Moloka‘i by Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday at the height of the pandemic, which examines the Hawaiian values of “kuleana” and “malama” related to the responsibility and care for the land.

For more information on the World Whale Film Festival or to purchase tickets to either the in-person or online event, visit

The Foundation, founded in 1980, is dedicated to saving the world’s whales from extinction and provides educational whale-watching tours, with a mission to protect the ocean through science and advocacy and to inspire environmental stewardship.

PWF owns the social enterprise PacWhale Eco-Adventures, with several ships and a store in Lahaina and Maalaea, which offers fee-based programs and services to help support the nonprofit.

Combined with memberships, donations, charitable grants and a group of dedicated volunteers, PWF now reaches more than 400,000 individuals each year through its Maui and Australia offices and research projects in Ecuador and Chile.

For a weekly listing of Maui music and other events, go to Maui Entertainment, Arts, Community, May 19-May 25 and click here.


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