Aquarium of the Pacific’s High Tide Film Festival Returns

The Aquarium of the Pacific is back again for a second year of student filmmaking, currently accepting admissions from high school students for its High Tide Film Festival until March 28. 

Southern California high school students can submit videos up to 180 seconds in length on ocean innovation, local treasures, or coral reefs. Informational videos on each of the topics can be found on the Aquarium of the Pacific’s ocean science topics and resources page. 

Participants can work alone or in groups of up to four students. Videos will be judged based on storytelling, content, creativity, and technical aspects. 

This year’s judging will be done in two phases. The first will be done by a group of aquarium staff members who will narrow down all the submissions to just the finalists. The finalists will then be assessed by a panel of guest judges including city council members, members of the aquarium’s Board of Directors, and local business leaders. 

The first place gold prize winner will receive a $2,000 cash prize, second place will win the silver prize at $1,500 and third place will win the bronze at $1,000. All finalists at the festival will receive a High Tide Student Film Festival Award Certificate, inclusion in the aquarium member magazine Pacific Currents, and four admission tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific. 

Finalists from the 2021 film festival include students from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Lakewood High School, and Whitney High School in Cerritos. 

The Aquarium of the Pacific held a virtual workshop to assist students in their filmmaking endeavors. The workshop was hosted by Aquarium of the Pacific Creative Arts and Education Supervisor Luke Richmond.

Richmond gave participants tips on documentary-style filmmaking, creative storytelling, audience engagement, and journalistic integrity. The Aquarium has also provided tips on media sourcing letting participants know any content used should be self shot, public domain or purchased with licensing. 

The High Tide Film Festival will be held on June 1 and all submission requirements can be found at the Aquarium’s rules and guidelines page. Interested individuals can also contact the Aquarium of the Pacific with any questions at

By Morgan Trivitt