Robert Wintner is Executive Director of the Snorkel Bob Foundation and owns Snorkel Bob's Hawaii. Wintner is a Hawaii reef advocate. He led legislative campaigns at the Hawaii State Capitol and in Maui County from 2007 through 2010. Passing the State Senate with unanimous consent, the first aquarium bill got derailed in the House by vested interests in leadership and the Executive Branch. These efforts did expose aquarium plunder with a grim consequence: empty reefs in Hawaii. Legislative efforts continue.
The Snorkel Bob Foundation was crucial in a coalition formed to protect the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument. Then came monk seal protection, resulting in State laws to protect Hawaiian monk seals (critically endangered) from abuse, with felony penalties.
Recently, the Snorkel Bob Foundation underwrote litigation through Earthjustice, the nonprofit, public-interest law firm, to stop the National Marine Fisheries Service from expanding the Hawaii long line swordfish fishery. The expansion would allow triple the incidental “take” on loggerhead, giant leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles.
Robert Wintner serves on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Board and also had sea time on the Ocean Warrior in 2001, bringing international media attention to scurrilous Japanese whaling activity in the Eastern Caribbean during the annual meeting of the International Whaling Conference in London. Wintner is known in Hawaii’s business community for media against the grain. With these skills applied to the protection of Hawaii reefs, the Snorkel Bob Foundation co-produced a reef etiquette video PSA that airs in hotels and other tourist venues. Wintner also produced a video advocating an end to gillnet fishing, which proved to be a key tool in banning gillnets on Maui.
The Snorkel Bob Foundation focuses on near shore reefs, and Robert Wintner has been the lead advocate for eliminating and/or regulating the aquarium trade in Hawaii. Wintner has been a voice for marine mammals, turtles, reefs and reef citizens for many decades and vows to continue. “It’s a long march. We have no choice but to take the next step.”
Rene Umberger is a coral reef wildlife consultant and advocate with over 10,000 dives in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific. Umberger founded For the Fishes and co-founded the Reef Rescue Alliance, both focused on advocacy and education to reduce the impact of the marine aquarium trade and promote understanding and stewardship for coral reefs and wildlife.
Umberger has worked with Hawaii’s marine tourism industry in the development of standards for operations in fragile coral reef environments.
Her protocol for volunteer SCUBA diver and snorkeler assisted marine debris removal has resulted in the safe removal of several tons of abandoned fishing gear from Hawaii’s reefs.
Addressing the impacts of the aquarium trade, Umberger’s advocacy has resulted in landmark laws for Maui County, proving the strongest protections for reef wildlife in the state, and county resolutions on Kauai and Hawaii Island, urging an end to Hawaii’s coral reef wildlife trade. Umberger authored a report for Humane Society International, A Review of the Coral Reef Wildlife Trade in Hawaii. She now works to secure protection for reef wildlife throughout Hawaii.
Michael X. Flores
Michael X. Flores has worked on several award-winning films since attending the U.S.C. where he received a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema-Television Production. Michael was awarded the John Frankenheimer Directing Scholarship for merit in directing and the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Entertainment Scholarship. He was also selected as a fellow in Film Independent’s Project: Involve, in which he was mentored by Jeffrey Blitz: director of the Academy-Award-nominated documentary Spellbound (2002). He edited the Student-EMMY ™ winning TV pilot, “Cost of Living” and wrote and directed an award-winning short film, Esperando (Waiting/Hoping). Michael worked as an assistant editor on Tamra Davis’s documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010), which premiered at Sundance; on One Lucky Elephant (2010),
which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival; and on First Position (2011), which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He edited Nick Broomfield’s documentary, Sarah Palin: You Betcha! (2011), which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival; Sweet Talk (2012); Last Will & Testament (2012), executive produced by Roland Emmerich; and Justice for My Sister (2012) - Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. He also worked on Tapia (2013), which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and Harmontown (2014), which will premiere at South By Southwest. He has also worked on several narrative shorts, music videos, and commercials.
Paula produced and co-directed with Academy Award™ nominee William Haugse, the documentary film, Song of the Dunes: Search for the Original Gypsies. It spotlights the Roma people, “gypsies” and airs on PBS Stations in 2014.
Paula directed and produced the award winning Not in God’s Name: In Search of Tolerance with the Dalai Lama, which recently screened at the International Center in Delhi, through the Foundation for Universal Responsibility supported by funding from the Dalai Lama’s Nobel Peace Prize winnings. The film exposes the evil of killing in the name of God, and aired on the PBS network nationwide. She is completing the book Not in God’s Name, including an interview with Mother Teresa.
She is currently producing the film, No Asylum, on the unknown Chapter of Anne Frank's story. Paula directed and produced the theatrically released Naked In Ashes, a critically acclaimed feature documentary on the Yogis of India.
She also directed and produced Origins of Yoga: Quest for the Spiritual, and co-authored the book, Shiva (1996, White Orchid Press.) She produced Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem, a multi-media theatrical performance co-sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation founded by Stephen Spielberg. She is currently directing and producing the film version.
Paula was Partner, Vice President and Director of KRCA TV, a TV station in Los Angeles from 1990 -1997 (under new management.) She organized and led educational tours in India, Nepal, China, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan and Kashmir. She is President of Paradise Filmworks International, a production company, and served as Co-Chair of the Southern Asian Art Council at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
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