Five local filmmakers to lend unique perspectives on saving Biscayne Bay

Biscayne Bay has reached its tipping point due to years of neglect, pollution and other mitigating factors.

Five local filmmakers are urging residents to do something about it through videos they created for “Save the Bay,” a PSA competition recently conducted by Oolite Arts. Winners received $2,500 each to produce a 30- to 60-second public service announcement for the contest.

The public is invited to view the short videos and meet the contest winners during a special screening that will take place at a virtual event, on Wednesday, July 28, starting at 7 p.m.

During the free community event, Oolite Arts also will hold a discussion between the filmmakers, the organization’s Cinematic Arts Manager Danielle Bender and Miami-Dade County’s Chief Bay Officer Irela Bagué. Additionally, the public can vote on their favorite PSA, which will receive a People’s Choice Award and extra $1,000, through Aug. 12, at

“Our Save the Bay competition is an example of the role artists can play in bringing new voices and perspectives to an important issue,” said Dennis Scholl, Oolite Arts’ president and CEO. “It’s also an opportunity for these filmmakers to make a positive impact on one of our greatest natural resources. We hope these PSAs will help encourage Miamians to take action.”

The five winners of the Save the Bay PSA contest are:
Alexa Caravia for “Video Letter” — A retired marine biologist reflects on what’s changed throughout her lifetime, working with plant and marine life in Biscayne Bay in this video letter to her unborn grandchild.

Milly Cohen for “Save the Bay” — Through community efforts and environmental research, scientists and people of Miami work together to transform Biscayne Bay back into a thriving ecosystem.

Jayme Gershen for “Captain BayWatch” — Captain BayWatch finds the balance between having a good time and looking out for the environment on this humorous journey around Biscayne Bay.

Helen Peña for “The Siren” — A cautionary bedtime story from the future about a Black mermaid living in the polluted Biscayne Bay.

Shireen Rahimi for “What Happened to the Bay?!” — An underwater filmmaker/scientist goes above and below the water to make a compelling personal appeal for saving Biscayne Bay.

Winners were selected by a jury consisting of Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, who is the co-executive director of the Miami-based Caribbean filmmaking collective Third Horizon; Rev. Houston Cypress, a poet, artist, environmental activist and ordained minister; Miami-based filmmaker and winner of Oolite’s Masks Up PSA contest Katja Esson, and Edson Jean, Oolite Arts’ 2020 Cinematic Arts resident.

The jury also chose five honorable mentions, which received $1,000 each. The recipients who received honorable mentions included Alec Castillo, Colin Foord, Chris Molina, Christian Perry and Nicolas Quintairos.

The Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation provided funding for this program, which comes on the heels of Oolite Arts’ successful Masks Up, Miami PSA competition that took place during the height of the pandemic to encourage residents to wear their face masks.

To learn more about the winners and vote for your favorite Save the Bay PSA, visit

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