.full-width-5926688d9953a { min-height:100px; padding:0px 0 10px; margin-bottom:0px; } #background-layer--5926688d9953a { background-position:left top; background-repeat:repeat; ; }

Submission Window for STWFF 2017 Now Open!

Submit your film for consideration in the 2017 Film Festival program.

Submissions due by June 1st, 2017.

#mk-custom-box-5926688d9c3eb { min-height:100px; padding:30px 20px; background-attachment:scroll; background-repeat:repeat; background-color:#f6f6f6; background-position:left top; margin-bottom:10px; border:1px solid #00566b; } #mk-custom-box-5926688d9c3eb .mk-fancy-title.pattern-style span{ background-color: #f6f6f6 !important; }

Save The Waves Film Festival is an international film tour and fundraiser for Save The Waves’ environmental programs and campaigns. Movies alone can’t change the world – but the people who watch them can. Save The Waves documentary films and the Film Festival educate and inspire audiences to protect the coastline. Our interest is not to make films promoting nor glorifying activism, but rather film as activism.

STWFF 2016 was screened on four continents, including screenings in Portugal, the U.S. East and West Coasts, Hawaii, Australia, Mexico, and Chile.


Upcoming Screenings: 

Humboldt, CA – 3/2 – Surfrider Humboldt
Gold Coast, AUS – 3/15 – Gold Coast WSR
Flagstaff, AZ – 5/18 – Flagstaff Mtn Film Festival
World Premier of 2017 STWFF – TBA
Submit Your Film


Since its inception in 2008, the STWFF has been curating visually remarkable and emotionally inspiring documentary films about ocean conservation and surfing.  Now in it’s ninth year, the world’s only international environmental surf film festival has evolved to become an anticipated tradition for surfers and eco-conscious ocean-lovers.  

As our core mission is oceanic environmental conservation and advocacy, we favor films that are able to engage our audiences and help them connect to pressing environmental issues, while engendering a sense of awe and appreciation for the natural environment throughout the viewing experience.  All submitted films are judged by a panel of professional filmmakers, photographers, surfers, academics, and ocean advocates – our collective goal is to create a program that will both entertain and inspire our audiences to live more passionately and with greater environmental awareness.

We highly encourage first-time filmmakers and the submission of unreleased work.  Last year the STWFF tour spanned four continents, and we’re continuing to grow… let your work support STW’s environmental mission and let us bring your artistic vision to the world.

Successful submissions will do the following:

  1. Submit a viewing link to your film to films@savethewaves.org – if you’re sending a private viewing link, please include the password.
  2. Sign and return the STWFF filmmaker legal document with your submission.
  3. Pay the $20 film submission fee to info@savethewaves.org via PayPal.  Please spell this email address carefully and correctly.  All funds raised by the STWFF support the environmental programs of STW, including World Surfing Reserves and Endangered Waves campaigns.
  4. Provide a concise written synopsis of the film, including directorial and any other pertinent production credits.
  5. Provide social media ready assets to promote your film – Insta-ready trailer(s), film stills, behind-the-scenes production stills, etc.  Make sure we have your @handle(s)!
  6. Throw lots of shakas, give away waves to strangers, and pick up trash when you’re leaving the beach while you wait to hear if your film will be an official selection of the 2017 STWFF international tour – karma counts!  We will publicly announce the selected film program on or before June 20, 2017.
  7. If your film is selected, filmmakers must be able to submit their final film by July 1, 2017 in downloadable HD .mov file format (file format of HD 1920×1080 Apple ProRes 422) for screening purposes.

**We consider less than 15 min a short film, and more than 15 min a feature film.  We accept films of all lengths, although feature films under an hour usually work best in our program format.**

2017 Selection Committee
  • Bianca Botta
    Bianca Botta
    • Nikki Brooks
      Nikki Brooks

      Santa Cruz photographer and surfer Nikki Brooks loves to document surfers on journeys near and far in search of waves less ridden.

      • Chris Burkard
        Chris Burkard

        Chris Burkard is an accomplished explorer, photographer, creative director, speaker, and author, often traveling throughout the year to pursue the farthest expanses of Earth.

        • Christian Charles
          Christian Charles

          British native and former professional ocean yacht racer, has an extensive creative career as a writer, art director, creative director and director. He is the President and Co-founder of mouseROAR.

          • Danielle Clayton
            Danielle Clayton

            Resigning from a job and team she loved at Billabong NZ to buy a one-way ticket to the tropics, slugging back Singapore Slings enroute to the unknown, Salt Gypsy founder, Danielle Clayton, spent three seasons as a surf guide in the Maldives. 

            • Sachi Cunningham
              Sachi Cunningham

              Sachi Cunningham is a documentary filmmaker and Professor of  Multimedia Journalism at San Francisco State University. Her award winning stories have screened at festivals worldwide, and on outlets including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, PBS FRONTLINE, FRONTLINE/World and the Discovery Channel.

              • John Daniels
                John Daniels

                John Daniels is a true outdoors man! John has traveled and competed in several surf competitions over the past 12 years. He has a large role in his surfing community and has ran a surf camp every summer for the past 15 years.

                • Leah Dawson
                  Leah Dawson

                  Professional surfer Leah Dawson has created her surf career as an influential voice in raising awareness of the women’s surf culture, identity, and community. With a desire to live an eco-friendly life, and be in service to others, she’s a unique storytelling voice for the Changing Tides Foundation.

                  • Troy Eckert
                    Troy Eckert

                    Troy Eckert is Co-Founder of Kozm and former Executive VP of Global Marketing for Volcom for 20 years, where he was the first employee, first pro surfer and helped build the brand from the ground up.

                    • Todd Hanson
                      Todd Hanson

                      Todd Hanson is a media producer and ocean lover who lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Todd has worked as Board Sports Producer at GoPro for the last 5 years, managing, editing, and producing hundreds of media assets. 

                      • Tim Lynch
                        Tim Lynch

                        What do you get when a friendly Texas linebacker falls in love with surfing, moves to the continental edge of Southern California, co-founds Woodshed Films with his friends, and produces pioneering surf and adventure films like 180° South and A Brokedown Melody? This guy

                        • Jack McCoy
                          Jack McCoy

                          Jack “Jake” McCoy Jr.  is the internationally recognized surfing photographer, writer, director, producer, and cinematographer, creating 25 highly successful films on surfing in a life’s work of award winning movies.

                          2016 Filmmaker Awards

                          Each recognized filmmaker was awarded a curated collection of photography gear from our friends at Peak Design to help them continue to produce inspiring images and protect their equipment while traveling and working in the harshest of environmental conditions.  

                          Best Short Film:

                          “The Urchin Hunter”

                          directed by Morgan Maassen

                          Best Feature Film:

                          “The More Things Change”

                          directed by Nate Myers

                          Environmental Impact Award:


                          directed by Sarah Teale & Lisa F. Jackson

                          Judges’ Choice Award:

                          “The Sun Also Rises”

                          directed by Chris McClean

                          #mk-tabs-5926688d9dcb0 .mk-tabs-tabs li.ui-tabs-active a, #mk-tabs-5926688d9dcb0 .mk-tabs-panes, #mk-tabs-5926688d9dcb0 .mk-fancy-title span{ background-color: #fff; }
                          #mk-custom-box-5926688dc4478 { min-height:100px; padding:30px 20px; background-attachment:scroll; background-repeat:repeat; background-color:#f6f6f6; background-position:left top; margin-bottom:10px; border:1px solid #00566b; } #mk-custom-box-5926688dc4478 .mk-fancy-title.pattern-style span{ background-color: #f6f6f6 !important; }
                          .full-width-5926688d9d0cf { min-height:100px; padding:0px 0 10px; margin-bottom:0px; } #background-layer--5926688d9d0cf { background-position:left top; background-repeat:repeat; ; }
                          • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.