International Ocean Film Festival

Q&A (4/27 @ 1:00 PM PST) Female Directors Q&A

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Female Directors: Opportunities & Challenges in the Natural World

Date: Tuesday April 27 at 1:00 PM PST

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Meet the panelists:

Ana Blanco, Executive Director - International Ocean Film Festival (moderator)

Ana joined IOFF as executive director in 2011. Ana brings a passion for the ocean and more than 10 years of experience in executive nonprofit management at various organizations in the Bay Area. Most recently she served as vice president and development director at, an educational entrepreneurship curriculum for young students, and as donor relations officer for the San Francisco Foundation. Ana also volunteers with Blue Water Foundation, dedicated to introducing at-risk youth to the joys and challenges of sailing on the San Francisco Bay. As a certified scuba diver, she is always looking for opportunities to explore and discover the amazingly beautiful underwater world. Ana has served as a jury member for several film festivals including: Jackson Wild, Cinemare International Ocean Film Festival (Kiel, Germany), San Diego Underwater Film Expo, and the FICMA Film Festival in Barcelona, Spain.


Cristina Mittermeier, Echoes of the Arctic

Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier was born in Mexico City in 1966 and grew up in nearby Cuernavaca, in the sunny state of Morelos. She is a photographer and marine biologist who for the past 25 years has been working as a writer, conservationist and photographer. She graduated from the ITESM University in Mexico with a degree in Biochemical Engineering in Marine Sciences and later attended the Fine Art Photography program at the Corcoran College for the Arts in Washington, D.C. In 2005 she founded the prestigious International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) to provide a platform for photographers working on environmental issues. In 2014 she co-founded Sea Legacy, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the ocean, with her partner, Canadian photographer Paul Nicklen

SeaLegacy is an organization dedicated to promoting the protection of the world’s oceans through storytelling. Cristina’s work has been published in hundreds of publications, including National Geographic Magazine, McLean’s and TIME.



Nicole Gormley, Lessons from Jeju

Nicole is a multi-hat wearing, documentary filmmaker, television producer, and photographer with the central aim to tell stories that inspire people to rethink our relationship to nature and protect the environment. Using her natural ability to connect with people, she approaches projects from the lens of a shared human experience, ultimately creating empathy and understanding through her work. After graduating from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology, she went on to produce projects for several of the world’s leading media outlets including Netflix’s Emmy-nominated series Ugly Delicious and dozens of international expeditions for National Geographic & Discovery Channel.


Christina Karliczek Skoglund, Sharks of the Icy North

Christina Karliczek Skoglund is an international award-winning director of photography and underwater filming specialist. She filmed around the world for wildlife and expeditions series of BBC, NDR/Doclights, Terra Mater and National Geographic - on land and in water. “Sharks Of The Icy North” was her debut as producer-director for Doclights/NDR/ARTE/ORF/CuriosityStream. At the moment, you can find Christina at work in the chilly waters of Scandinavia and occasionally on underwater sets for features films.


Claudia Schmitt, 360 Sea Plastics

Claudia is an underwater videographer and part of the independent filmmaker team “The Jetlagged”, who are working tirelessly for more awareness and better protection of our oceans. With their films, documentaries and latest 360° VR underwater experiences, Claudia wants to inspire people to go out and experience the oceans themselves, to recognize their importance for our planet and to spark action for their conservation. The Jetlagged’s films have won numerous awards on international film festivals.