Winner of the 2023 Sylvia Earle Ocean Conservation Award: The Art of Discovery

by Abigail Richardson from MY HERO Staff

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JUNE 8, 2023 - LAGUNA BEACH, CAThe MY HERO Project is delighted to announce that Mónika Naranjo-Shepherd for her film, The Art of Discovery is the winner of the 2023 Sylvia Earle Ocean Conservation Award. MY HERO presents this annual award to filmmakers who showcase heroes who are working to protect the world’s oceans.

151993'During a moment at work'Mónika Naranjo-Shepherd

The annual award is named for Dr. Sylvia Earle, a world-renowned marine biologist, oceanographer, explorer, author, lecturer, leader, and research scientist who has led more than 100 expeditions and is author of more than 200 publications. It is sponsored by MacGillivray-Freeman Films’ Educational Foundation's One World One Ocean campaign[i]

Said Greg MacGillivray, Chairman of MacGillivray Freeman Films: “Sylvia Earle is our ocean hero, and we hope this award inspires aspiring filmmakers to shine a spotlight on other dedicated people from all walks of life who are working tirelessly on behalf of our oceans."

The winners are chosen annually by Barbara MacGillivray, the organization’s Director of Partner Outreach, and her team. 

Mónika grew up with a mother from Mexico and a father from Costa Rica, traveling between both countries as a young adult. Now, she is a well-travelled documentarian. Mónika first gained her footing in film and photography when she began her undergraduate education at the University of Costa Rica studying Audiovisual Production. She loved being able to tell stories in a different form and continued her education studying Screenwriting at the University of Bergen in Norway. 

151995MónikaMónika Naranjo-Shepherd

In the world of film, Mónika’s biggest inspiration was Jacque Cousteau and Michael Moore. Mónika admired both of the filmmakers' abilities to tell the stories that they wanted through their eyes. 

Her film, The Art of Discovery captures the artistic exploration of discovering the mysterious creatures that inhabit the sea. Mónika finds her passions in telling stories that focus on illuminating the necessary topics about environmental and social values. Her first feature length film focused on Nicaraguan immigration to Costa Rica, diving into the stories of xenophobia and racism between the two countries. She was able to shine light on the social issues behind immigration in Latin America, a very important problem that is not widely discussed.

When asked what advice she has for future filmmakers, Mónika says to watch as much as you can and to understand why you find what you watch interesting or boring, and use the resources available to you. 

151994'During a moment at work'Mónika Naranjo-Shephe

“Never be discouraged by the size of the competition because every voice is valuable,” said Mónika. “Never be intimidated by your lack of connections, your family, lack of experience. Just go for it. If it’s important to you then it's important.”

For more information about all the 2023 finalists, please go to: Silvia Earle Ocean Award

[i] One World One Ocean is a global non-profit campaign designed to connect people emotionally to the world's oceans. Their mission is to raise awareness of ocean degradation, to inspire audiences through cinematography and to spark a global movement to protect our seas.

Page created on 6/15/2023 5:20:10 PM

Last edited 6/30/2023 7:49:56 PM