Blue Horizons Poster

Now in its twelfth year, the Blue Horizons Summer Program for Environmental Media teaches students how to communicate vital stories about the ocean from a coastal California perspective.

During this nine-week summer program, students learn elements that are essential to producing documentary films – from developing a film’s core idea and story, to thinking about its impact on its audiences, to the nuts-and-bolts of video production.  After examining the critical issues of our region’s oceans and seashores, students develop their own stories and produce their own short documentaries.  The films premiere at the end of the Blue Horizons program in UCSB’s Pollock Theater.

Applications for Summer 2018 are available now. 

Applicants will be notified of acceptance on a rolling basis beginning

February 15, 2018.  Applications will close May 1, 2018.

In this media-focused world, audiences are bombarded with messages, and are left to try to make sense of an overwhelming amount of information.  How can our messages actually cut through the clutter to help motivate new awareness, new behaviors?  Which strategies lead to a more effective use of media?  Today’s students need a sophisticated sense of how media works and what it does, to become better communicators themselves.  

Blue Horizons studentsThe Blue Horizons summer program brings together students interested in digital media production and environmental studies to learn about important issues of the global ocean from a local, California perspective. A coordinated series of interdisciplinary courses and related activities, Blue Horizons introduces students to scriptwriting; media portrayals of the environment; the biological, socio-economic, and political aspects of marine conservation; and the latest innovations in environmental filmmaking. 

Students will gain the skills necessary to communicate effectively with their peers, scientists, policymakers, and the general public by producing short, compelling videos. Issues such as marine protected areas, sustainable fishing, watershed ecosystems, beach erosion, aquaculture, and others will be closely studied, providing a foundation for the research necessary to produce an informative film. Techniques of digital video camera operations, sound gathering, lighting, and editing with industry standard software will also be covered.

Recent Blue Horizons student films:


Blue Horizons is generously sponsored by Sony Pictures Entertainment. 

The program is cosponsored by the Associated Student Coastal Fund and UCSB Summer Sessions.  

We are grateful to Pond5 for its donation of stock video footage.