Blue Horizons Poster


Now in its 11th year, the BLUE HORIZONS program teaches students how to communicate vital stories about the ocean through media.

During this 9-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 itself.  Then, 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.

Summer 2017 Applications Available February 2017

Application Deadline - May 5, 2017

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 (see Student Success Story below). 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 Adobe Premier will also be covered.


Student Success Story

Each year, the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society (OWUSS) awards three Rolex Scholarships to young people who are considering a career in an underwater-related discipline. Each scholar recipient spends a year working alongside current leaders in underwater fields. The 2011 North American award winner is Christian Clark, an experienced diver and a 2009 Blue Horizons graduate. Congratulations to Christian! We wish him success documenting the issues that plague the global oceans.


Recent Blue Horizons Films




We want to thank the students of UCSB through the Associated Students Coastal Fund for their generous support of the GreenScreen and Blue Horizons programs over the years. We are grateful to Sony Pictures Entertainment for its donation of equipment to support the Environmental Media Initiative's Blue Horizons Program.

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