The 2021 IOFF Student Film Competition gives students the opportunity to showcase their creativity in helping to protect the ocean and is dedicated to restoring and inspiring ocean biodiversity and activism through independent film.

Let’s take a look at the 10th Annual Student Film Competition’s winners, prizes, and contestant’s unique experiences.


A Student-Oriented Ocean Film Festival

This student-centered film festival is unique in that it’s judged by an elite jury of professional filmmakers and ocean conservationists.

The top 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers in each age group of middle and high school students cashed in on prizes up to $500. Additionally, one IOFF Global Audience Award winner was selected for each age group (middle school, high school) based on votes from viewers around the world. Winners were also awarded an online dive education course from PADI eLearning.

PADI is honored to support the young generation of filmmakers and ocean advocates with the opportunity to start or advance their dive education so that they may find new inspiration for storytelling and protecting the underwater world.

The IOFF staff commented that “the films were so well produced with great stories, incredible imagery, outstanding audio tracks and an overall message of protecting our oceans, the jury was challenged with selecting the top finalists. All of the films were amazing and we would like to thank all of the students for their efforts. We hope all of the students were inspired and that they see filmmaking as an opportunity to tell a story and inspire others with their message.”

It’s safe to say that this was an excellent opportunity to support our youth and promote the importance of ocean conservation to the next generation of sea lovers.

Student Winners’ Experiences

The student winners had an experience they are sure to remember. Check out two students’ reflections on the contest:

“Joining in a contest is a challenge for my age but because I really love the ocean, that’s why I choose to join – to show that we need to do something to protect all the living things under the ocean.” –Zyris Alexa Salanga, 3rd Place: Saving the Ocean, 6th Grade (Middle School), Hillcrest School, Antipolo City, Philippines.

International Ocean Film Festival - Raine Julia K. Jacobo
Raine Julia K. Jacobo working on her award-winning entry.

“As much as I love drawing cute things, attempting to draw a sea creature really helps brighten up my day. Because of this film competition, it made me and my group study and research about the ocean and its sea creatures. In other words, it’s a discovery for us and made me open my eyes a bit more about the ocean, hoping it would do the same thing to the viewers with the sea creatures they haven’t encountered yet, hoping they will be caring and cherishing to the living beings around us.

For young students like us to be part of this ocean event means that we could show more support if we could use our talents and minds together to spread the message of the ocean to other people. Children can have big hearts for the animals they care for and it would be inspiring for others to help them care for the animals too.

I heard of the competition when my friend invited me to help the club with their film project as there weren’t many animators. He gave me information about the film and the theme while the other members guided me about the concept of the story. As much as the prize seems fine, I enjoyed my first time animating and entering my first competition.” – Raine Julia K. Jacobo, 1st Place: The Adventures of Super Loro, 11th Grade (High School), Infant Jesus Academy Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines.

Raine is a two-time winner, having also won for her film Baby Gong, about a dugong, a sea cow’s calf, in the previous year’s contest.

International Ocean Film Festival - The Baby Duongs Team
The “Baby Duongs Team”.

International Ocean Film Festival 2021 Winners

We are proud to present the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners from the high school and middle school categories:

High School Winners

1st Place: The Adventures of Super Loro, 11th Grade, Mikaela Penelope D. Saltiga, Infant Jesus Academy Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines

2nd Place: Our Ocean is Haunted, 11th Grade, Minh Tue Nguyen, Hanoi-Amsterdam High School for The Gifted, Hanoi, Vietnam

3rd Place: The Dying of the Light, 11th Grade, Unna Wijitprapai, Ruamrudee International School, Bangkok, Thailand

Middle School Winners

1st Place: not just WATER…it’s a HOME, 8th Grade, Hayah Irfan, Alpha Core School, Karachi, Pakistan

2nd Place: Black Ocean, 8th Grade, Edna Luna, The STEM Academy at Bartlett Middle School, Savannah, GA

3rd Place: Saving the Ocean, 6th Grade, Zyris Alexa Salanga, Hillcrest School, Antipolo City Philippines


Check out all of the winners here.

Call for Entries for the 19th Annual IOFF, taking place on April 7 – 11, 2022, will open on Wednesday, September 1, 2021.

Click here for more information and to submit your film today!

Photo Credit: Chad King / NOAA MBNMS
Photo Credit: Chad King / NOAA MBNMS – Students were given access to the NOAA photo library to complete their entries.

Ready to see our amazing blue planet, up-close and in-person?

PADI® Open Water Diver is the first scuba certification level. By the end of the course, you’ll have the skills and knowledge to dive at home or abroad and be an ambassador for the underwater world.

Get started today from home or anywhere in the world with PADI eLearning.

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