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Greg Louganis Speaks at Launch of 5th Annual Pride of the Ocean Film Festival

Sochi Olympics: “Boycotts Hurt the Wrong People”


Greg Louganis

Seattle, WA: Olympic legend Greg Louganis appeared in Seattle for the launch of the Pride of the Ocean LGBT Film Festival cruise, featuring scenes from the upcoming documentary on his return to the world of diving – BACK ON BOARD. While speaking, he responded to questions on the controversy of the Winter Olympics scheduled for Sochi, Russia.

The director of BACK ON BOARD, Cheryl Furjanic, will be one of the filmmakers aboard the film festival cruise, departing Seattle for Glacier Bay, Alaska, and hosting workshops, seminars, and films along the way.

Addressing the press, Louganis spoke to how the documentary came about. “Cheryl reached out to me after she saw a New York Times article about me making my way back to diving, and coaching a dive teams.” The film, begun two years ago, chronicles the changes in Louganis’ life that brought him into his current role of mentoring in the sport he dominated for so long.

Questions turned to the anti-gay legislation and violent attacks on gay individuals in Russia, causing many in the LGBT community and beyond to urge boycotting the Olympics. Louganis answered directly, “Boycotts don’t work. They hurt the wrong people. I’m an athlete, I’ve lived it.”

Referring to Russia’s infamous law that criminalizes ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors,’ he stated, “What we’ve seen has been heart-wrenching… The important thing is we’re talking about it, and that we keep talking about it. We’re shining a light on what is happening in Russia.”

“Here they are passing these laws that are supposed to ‘protect children,’ and gay children are born every day in Russia,” he concluded. “Who is protecting them?”

Yoruba Richen

Yoruba Richen

Following Louganis’ remarks, John Scagliotti, Emmy Award-winning director of the documentary BEFORE STONEWALL and Programmer of the Pride of the Ocean Film Festival, introduced the other speakers, including award-winning filmmaker Yoruba Richen, and celebrated LGBT community advocate and filmmaker Andrea Meyerson, recipient of this year’s Body of Work Award.

James Pollin, Cruise Director of the Pride of the Ocean cruises and owner of the Pollin Group, unveiled the 2014 fifth anniversary Pride of the Ocean cruise, leaving New York on June 1 and sailing for Bermuda on Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand new ship, the Breakaway.

“We’ve dubbed this year our ‘5th on the 45th’ as we will celebrate Pride of the Ocean’s fifth anniversary on the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Our official title is ‘Selma, Seneca Falls, and Stonewall: Films That Made a Difference.’”

With the release of the Pride of the Ocean 2014 cruise details, passengers may now begin booking for that trip. “We sold out this year,” said Pollin. “Our group doubled in size. We expect the Breakaway cruise to Bermuda to do the same.”

For more information about Pride of the Ocean, visit

Posted in: lgbt media, seattle, Uncategorized

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Pride of the Ocean Doubles in Size for 2013

The fourth Pride of the Ocean LGBT Film Festival sails for Glacier Bay, Alaska, in August with over twice as many passengers as the preceding third cruise. On board the Norwegian Pearl luxury cruise ship, the film festival will host groundbreaking film screenings, seminars, workshops and a wide variety of filmmakers and special guests.

Group MontageOnly a Few Cabins Remain on the only LGBT Film Festival at Sea

Anticipating the leap in size this year, Program Director John Scagliotti and Cruise Director Jim Pollin planned for more cabins to be available for the expanding audience of 2013.

James Pollin“Our cruise has leaped in size every year,” states Pollin, “and this year we knew we would see another burst of interest for our first West Coast departure.”

“We are delighted that our growth even surpassed our expectations.”

As the passenger list expanded, Pollin ensured the group had the space they needed. “Interest has been so high, the railroad car reserved for the group shore excursion in Skagway on the White Pass Railroad sold out. We quickly added another car, and that (more…)

Posted in: alaska, cineslam, film festival info, filmmakers on board, films, films on board, lgbt media, networking, On Board Events, panel discussions, partner organizations, Pride of the Ocean Parties, registration, seattle, Uncategorized, workshops and film labs

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Alaska with an expert…

Traveling by cruise ship is always enhanced by quality shore excursions, giving travelers a feel for the ports of call. While the films, filmmakers and other honored guests are no doubt driving your interest in Pride of the Ocean, we know our destination is also a powerful draw – Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Victoria… and of course, the magnificent Glacier Bay.PostcardsNo one knows the importance of the shore excursion like your fellow passenger, award-winning writer Randall Shirley, one of North America’s busiest freelance travel journalists! Over the next few weeks, travel to Randall’s blog and read his recommendations on shore excursions that will apply to many Alaska cruises. A Vancouver native who honeymooned in Alaska, he certainly knows the territory.

Randall-Shirley-Postcard Randall has been in the journalism field for 20 years, including roles as editor and travel editor of three national Canadian gay magazines, and appearing on TV and radio as an expert in gay travel, cruise travel, and theatre travel. He frequently writes for publications such as Travel+Leisure, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, Canada’s Calgary Herald and Up! inflight magazine.

His travels have taken him to (more…)

Posted in: alaska, networking, On Board Events, partner organizations, seattle, shore excursion, Uncategorized

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Pride of the Ocean to Present Sneak Preview of Greg Louganis Documentary

Pride of the Ocean welcomes Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis who will be on board the ship to welcome Pride of the Ocean passengers going on the Alaska cruise next summer. Joining him will be Back on Board Greg Louganis director Cheryl Furjanic and other LGBT filmmakers and film fans. The floating film festival is sailing from Seattle to Alaska’s Glacier Bay August 18-25, 2013 aboard the Norwegian Pearl.

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Second “Body of Work” honoree chosen: Andrea Meyerson!

Pride of the Ocean has chosen Andrea Meyerson for its 2013 Body of Work recipient. With over 25 documentaries and comedy specials to her credit, one of her films will be screened at the next festival, which sets sail from Seattle to Alaska in August 2013.

Join Andrea Meyerson for the next Pride of the Ocean cruise!

In congratulating Meyerson for her many years of powerful and hilarious films Pride of the Ocean festival programmer John Scagliotti applauded her “creative cinematic approach in presenting the many faces of the LGBT community.”

Scagliotti says, “Whether smartly exploring our complicated lives in comedy with your Laughing Matters films or your emphasis on capturing the magical details of a powerful human story in I Stand Corrected, it all adds up to a style full of grace and love for your subjects.”

Meyerson is well known for her four documentaries in the Laughing Matters series—Laughing Matters, Laughing Matters…More, Laughing Matters…The Men and Laughing Matters…Next Gen. In recent years she has also done many comedy specials for Showtime Networks and LOGO, including a documentary on comedienne Kate Clinton.

Her current documentary, I Stand Corrected is a departure from her focus on stand-up comedians. In this stirring film, Meyerson showcases the life and trials of Jennifer Leitham, a transgender upright bass player. It screened on Pride of the Ocean, where it won critical acclaim before picking up the Audience Award at OutFest in July. Since then, it has been receiving high praise and is slotted in many LGBT film festivals around the country.

The 1st Body of Work award went to Casper Andreas, the director of popular gay narrative films Going Down in La-La Land, Between Love & Goodbye, The Big Gay Musical, Violet Tendencies and A Four Letter Word.

Pride of the Ocean has invited Andrea to present one of her films on the next Pride of the Ocean cruise.

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(#1) from John on Alaska Cruise Site Visit

You must stay a day or two in Seattle

I am so glad I got a chance to spend some time in Seattle (our next embarkation city)  before heading off to my site visit on the Norwegian Pearl’s Alaska Cruise.  Michael Bradbury, the Pride of the Ocean Marketing guy, is from Seattle and gave me a little tour of the environs.  I am staying on Capitol Hill, which I am told is the “gay neighborhood,”  though I understand that there is no capitol on the hill. (go figure.)  Seattle seems to be very gay indeed. When doing my doc BEFORE STONEWALL we did an interview in Pioneer Square at a very old gay bar, the Double Header, which has been operating since 1934.  No, I was not the first patron!

Seattle was a major port city during World War II where many of those sailors and lady waves settled after getting back from the Pacific theater. So Seattle got a big leap on the rest of us and I believe, where the phrase, “Hey Sailor” was first used.

One of my first stops was Kerry Park.  This is the must go place to take that great picture with the Seattle skyline and the Space Needle in the background.  It is also where a lot of wedding pictures get shot.

Fabulous view to be had at Kerry Park

John with four bridesmaids, one more lovely than the other.

the bride checks out John’s threads

While straight folks can enjoy Kerry Park for their wedding photos, it seems gay folks are in a big fight here to have that opportunity… There are folks in Washington State that are trying to stop LGBT people from having the same rights as they have.  We’ve seen this before but maybe Washington will become the first state to adopt gay marriage by popular vote this fall when Referendum 74 passes.

Maybe we can help the folks in Seattle win this one!  You can donate to their campaign here… and perhaps by the time we all get to Seattle next August, we will see some gay wedding pictures at Kerry Park.

Next up:  my trip on the Washington Ferries…


Posted in: alaska, filmmaker news, partner organizations, seattle, site inspection, upcoming festivals

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