Panels and Special Events


Saturday April 14 @ 7pm

Join us for complimentary drinks and canapes courtesy of Granville Island Brewery, Raincity Juicery and VIJ’s Restaurant.

INCLUDES admission to our Feature Film, Chasing Coral.


The International Year of the Reef celebrates the beauty and significance of coral reefs to our planet. It occurs, however, at a time in history when coral reefs worldwide are in grave danger of disappearing due to climate change and ocean acidification. This ‘jewel belt of the earth’ is one of nature’s most precious and significant ecosystems.


Follow a team of divers, photographers and scientists as they set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discovery why coral reefs are vanishing.

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Dr. Ruth Gates

Appearing in CHASING CORAL and joining us on stage at the Festival Launch Party is our very special guest, Dr. Ruth Gates. Dr. Gates is an internationally recognized Coral Research Scientist at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology. She is known for her research into ‘assisted evolution’ and the pursuit of supercorals.



Following our feature film, Dr. Gates will join a distinguished panel to discuss their unique perspectives and answer your questions on serious threats to our oceans.

Dr. David Shiffman is a marine conservation biologist and award-winning science communicator based at Simon Fraser University. His research focuses on shark conservation and management policy.

Kristina Tietjen is a coral researcher from the University of Victoria. She has been conducting research on Kiritimati since 2014, and has seen first-hand the impacts of coral bleaching and the recovery following the 2015-2016 global bleaching event.



Sunday April 15 @ 10am (OMNIMAX Theatre)

The ELEMENTS FILM FESTIVAL is committed to educating budding filmmakers and students in the craft of filmmaking. We want to give keen youngsters a chance to express themselves and see their films on the big screen.

Join us to see the exceptional craftsmanship of talented young filmmakers.

We received student produced films exploring a wide range of topics including inspirational stories about nature, adventure, sports, exploration, and science.

The finalists in the ELEMENTS Student Film Competition will be presented on Sunday morning.

Sponsored by: The Vancouver Outdoor School



Saturday April 15 @ 1pm (Science Theatre)

Teen filmmaker Dylan D’Haeze joins us live onstage on Saturday at 1pm in the Science Theatre after the screening of his film PLASTIC IS FOREVER to discuss his project ‘Kids Can Make A Difference”.



Dylan D’Haeze, a young filmmaker from the San Juan Islands, follows plastic trash to where it ends up—with some surprising results. And he shows how kids can help make a difference in a world that is increasingly dependent on plastic.

Dylan’s goal is to reach kids worldwide and show them that they are not powerless, and that their daily actions can affect our future in a positive way.

Kids can make a difference!


From UK Director Sabine Schwab, THE GOOD CUP addresses an issue that each of us faces every single day. Every year, 2.5 billion paper cups are being used in the UK alone, but only one in 400 cups is recycled. What can be done to make cups more environmentally friendly?



Sunday April 15 @ 1pm (Science Theatre)

Photo: Planet Madagascar

Photo: Planet Madagascar

Wildfire has been in the news the past few years for its ferocity and devastating aftermath. They are part of a natural cycle, but how has man’s activity impacted natural fire and how are we harnessing it for good, or for the long term detriment of nature’s health?

Our panelists, Alan Westhaver and Dr. Travis Steffens, each work in different parts of the world and in different disciplines related to wildland fire. Their work and knowledge may be very relevant to protecting your property as well as to maintaining healthy and productive forests and lands all around the world.

Alan Westhaver, M.Sc. is a retired Parks Canada Fire Specialist with a passion for restoring ecosystems using fire, while also reducing the risk of wildfire losses in urban areas. His investigations into fire disasters like Kelowna and Fort McMurray merge with other research to provide important insights. 

Travis Steffens, Ph.D is a primatologist, researcher and NGO Manager working in Madagascar. His non-profit society, Planet Madagascar, aims to build sustainable forest communities to improve the lives of local residents while conserving lemurs and their habitat.


PANEL: Connecting with Science and Nature

Sunday April 15 @ 3:30pm (Science Theatre)

 'You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone' – Joni Mitchell.

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Scientists and educators often struggle in their efforts to communicate the consequences of environmental degradation. The waters have been muddied with changing perceptions of news media and of the scientific community and researchers have experienced increased difficulty in communicating their findings effectively and influencing policy in a positive manner.

Join our panelists in exploring the different ways that they have found to connect their research and discoveries with the general public, moderated by Tracey Friesen.

Dr. Scott Sampson is a dinosaur paleontologist, science communicator, and passionate advocate for reimagining cities as places where people and nature thrive. He serves as the President and CEO of Science World British Columbia.

Dr. David Shiffman is a marine conservation biologist and award-winning science communicator based at Simon Fraser University. His research focuses on shark conservation and management policy.

Maeva Gauthier, M.Sc. is a marine ecologist, communicator, and explorer. She has produced short films and educational projects about ocean science, and is co-founder of the non-profit Fish Eye Project, which provides live underwater broadcasting to connect people with our oceans.

Duane Sharman, M.Sc. is a successfully retired engineer and entrepreneur in wireless technology, filmmaker, multi-instrumental musician, and film soundtrack composer. He is a tireless advocate for ocean conservation, and, in 2016, completed his award winning documentary short film THE END GAME. Duane is co-founder and Chairman of the Elements Film Festival.

Tracey Friesen is director of communications and public engagement at the David Suzuki Foundation. A former executive producer at the NFB, she is also the author of Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change