The Ocean Film Festival World Tour screens at the Rio on Tuesday, June 8, which is World Oceans Day.
The Ocean Film Festival World Tour was set for an in-person screening at the Rio Theatre on Tuesday, which is World Oceans Day. Virtual tickets are also available.
(Paul Hawxhurst / Ocean Film Festival World Tour)

It’s World Oceans Day — and the Rio Theater has an actual in-person way to celebrate it

The Rio Theatre was set to host both in-person and virtual screenings of the Ocean Film Festival World Tour on Tuesday, which is designated World Oceans Day by the United Nations.

It’s World Oceans Day, and with COVID-19 restrictions easing, Santa Cruzans can celebrate in person with a screening of the Ocean Film Festival World Tour at the Rio Theatre.

The 7 p.m. opening event, coinciding with the holiday designated by the United Nations as a day “for humanity to celebrate the ocean,” is only the second in-person event since the Rio closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hosting another in-person screening is “exciting,” said Kathy Ferraro, who coordinates adventure film festival marketing for the Rio. She hopes the event will bring “awareness to the ocean and ocean issues, as well as how much fun we all have out on the ocean.”

The festival, created by the Australian company Adventure Reels TV, includes nine short films from around the world. Highlights of the 2.5-hour screening include “Race to Alaska,” which follows competitors as they race from Washington to Alaska using non-motorized vessels (including a stand-up paddleboard!), and “Changing Tides,” which follows two Australian women as they complete a three-week kayak trip without any single-use plastics.

Ferraro said just a few tickets ($18.90 apiece) remained Monday as the limited-capacity event neared a sellout. But the Rio will also host a virtual screening through June 21, a new offering for film festivals the venue has developed during the pandemic. A portion of the proceeds, $3 per ticket, will be donated to Save Our Shores.