SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Gray's Reef Film Festival is a week away, but a lot of school kids got a sneak peek on Tuesday.
The challenge was not getting kids excited about going to the movies on a school day - it was getting them to grasp the reason they were there.
"Some of our films today are going to explain to you and help you understand what a national marine sanctuary is," said Chris Hines, Gray's Reef Sanctuary Deputy Superintendent.
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary sponsored the day out for more than 500 Savannah-Chatham County Public School students. The movie day held at the Historic Savannah Theater was designed to be as much about education as entertainment.
"A lot of children in our area grow up 20 miles from the beach and the ocean and never experience the creatures that live within and how important it is to protect our coastal ecosystem. Everything we do is connected to the ocean, so it's very important to educate them about the critters that live within, how we're all connected to the ocean, and how valuable that ecosystem is," Hines said.
Tuesday's screenings helped kick off the annual Gray's Film Festival, which will run from Feb. 8 until the 11 and will express a similar message to a larger audience than the students who got an early look.
"I want them to get inspired by the ocean. I want them to know about Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary and how important it is to our community," Hines said.
The Gray's Reef Film Festival movies will be at the Trustees Theater and the Tybee Post Theater.