About Ignite

If you had 5 minutes on stage what would you say? What if you only got 20 slides and they rotated automatically after 15 seconds?

Around the world geeks have been putting together Ignite nights to enlighten us – quickly.

In Search of Giants

Michelle Alvarado

Wahoo Films


Michelle Haynes Alvarado has worked with National Geographic Films, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Nolan/La Monte Advertising, Guided Discoveries, and BBC after graduating from USC Cinema School. Michelle currently owns Wahoo Films, directing promotional films, exhibit videos, online videos, and television documentaries. She also enjoys scuba diving in rivers and filming when time allows.

Through my personal story, I will share various facts about Humpback whales and the state of their survival over the last 35 years. (shortened version of presentation) What would it be like to be swimming next to a 79,000 lb Megaptera novaeangliae? I asked myself that very question at age 8. I was on a whale watching boat in Maui, looking into the water when a humpback whale swam underneath my view and breached 50 feet away. On our way back, I saw two divers next to a female and her calf. I asked the guide if we could go swim with the whales. He explained that you had to be a marine biologist or a photographer. So I wanted to become a marine biologist. At home, I started to see images of whales being harpooned and couldn’t understand why. My mother helped me send some of my allowance to Greenpeace every month to stop the whaling. A few years later, I started to learn how to scuba dive when my family got news that my mother was dying. I found peace from my grief in the quietness underwater. My father distracted me with an underwater video camera and found a reason to keep living. My fascination and love of the mysterious leviathans only grew stronger. And so did my allowance. Fast forward ten more years, when I jumped into the ocean in Tonga with my video camera. I looked down to turn it on and two humpback whales where staring right at me. I just paused for a moment and watched how graceful and slow they moved around me. I could see barnacles on their noise and the white of there dorsal fins. Then I started to roll camera. The next day we filmed a mama humpback who may have seen her parents harpooned in the 80s. She was now swimming with her calf in protected waters thanks to the efforts of Greenpeace and the Kingdom of Tonga. It was that moment that I realized we can make a difference and even a little girls dreams can come true.



Next Event

Ignite Bend ​15
​2018 TBA
Doors open at 6:00pm
Tower Theater - Bend, OR
Admission is always FREE

Tickets will be available two weeks prior to the event.


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