Three Ocean Advocates

Inspiring Change for a Healthy Ocean
Year Released
Film Length(s)
29 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


An EMMY AWARD WINING FILM directed and produced by filmmakers Andrea E Leland & Cynthia Abbott.

An artist, a fisherman and a photographer take actions that inspire hope for our ailing oceans. Our oceans are suffering from plastic pollution, climate change, and acidification. Viewers see through example, how our actions can help determine the health of the ocean for generations to come.

Featured review

In a time when it's easy to despair about the future, Three Ocean Advocates eloquently documents the lives of advocates who take on intransigent issues and help change practices and deepen public awareness. A beautiful, timely documentary.
Liz Cunningham
author of the award-winning Ocean Country


Our oceans cover 70% of the earth and is the largest habitat on our planet. It provides over 50% of the oxygen we breathe, absorbs heat and carbon dioxide, and it is brimming with an amazing array of biodiversity that not only provides food for 3 billion people on the planet, but also supports a myriad of recreational activities. The ocean is in trouble, we know the causes, we have solutions and we can take actions to restore the health of the oceans.

The ocean advocates featured in this film share their stories and a glimpse into the challenges the ocean is currently facing. A California artist transforms plastic washed ashore into lifelike portraits of ocean heroes who have deepened our understanding of our interconnections to the ocean’s health. A California fisherman works with regulators and other fishermen to protect whales that are negatively impacted by the very fishing from which he makes his living. By taking photos over ten years, a curious snorkeler unknowingly creates an historic record of the life on the coral reefs surrounding the US Virgin Islands, capturing the astonishingly fast degradations of this once bountiful habitats. Follow these creative, passionate ocean stewards and be inspired to consider what actions you can take to support ocean health.


Three Ocean Advocates is a beautifully crafted, rich, and compelling documentary about threats to the oceans and how three advocates have responded. This film should reach both general audiences and environmental groups; it is also eminently suited for classroom use, where it will inform, provoke questions, and inspire young viewers.
Beverly R. Voloshin
Professor Emerita | San Francisco State University
I've witnessed efforts by all levels of government, academia, public interest groups, educators and the private sector to help protect and care for the ocean. What is often lost is the power of individuals to help change the future of our ocean for the better. Cynthia Abbott and Andrea Leland have done a masterful job at capturing the contributions of an artist (Tess Felix), a commercial Fisherman (Dick Ogg), and an underwater photographer/naturalist (Barbara Crites).
Brian Baird
Former California Assistant Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy

Awards and Screenings

EMMY® AWARD WINNER / 50th Northern California Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Environmental / Science-Long Form category, 2021
Sebastopol Documentary Film Fest, 2022
Colorado Environmental Film Fest, 2022
International Ocean Film Fest, 2022
DC Environmental Film Festival , 2022
Boulder Environmental Film Fest, 2021
Global Short FILM AWARD: Best Documentary, Cannes, France, 2021
Rincon Film Fest: Audience Choice & Best Cinematography awards, 2021
Sedona International Film Fest, 2021

Director Commentary

ANDREA E LELAND: For many years I have traveled, filmed, and lived in the Caribbean. Swimming daily in the ocean, I have seen first-hand the changes that are taking place. The reefs are bleaching and dying from viruses, micro- plastic particles and plastic waste are accumulating on our beaches, powerful hurricanes are destroying both the land and the seas. As a filmmaker, I felt compelled to take action to expose these issues and to provide hope by focusing on citizen scientists who are taking steps to heal the ocean. They show us you don’t have to be an expert to take action to heal our planet.

CYNTHIA ABBOTT: As someone who has lived near the ocean my entire life, I have been witness to its sad demise. The health of the ocean is at a critical turning point with only a few years left before we have done irreversible damage. As an environmental filmmaker, I believe the power of storytelling can change our collective vision of the ocean and create a new hopeful vision for the ocean’s future – one that is protected and thriving through our everyday actions.

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning

Film/Audio Languages

  • English

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • English

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

Resources for Educators

File Downloads

Opens in new window