THe Program

This year our program took us to Easter Island (Rapa Nui) for a 6 week documentary film expedition. Our film focused on Heu Rapu, an elder of the island, seeking to find his peace and understanding on how to preserve his cultural, environmental and ancestral traditions while embracing the encroaching globalized world and the harmful effects that can so often come with tourism growth. 

The entire production took place on location this year (pre-production, Production & Post Production). It was our desire to experience the full documentary in a place that has limited access to water, electricity, internet, phone and all other major conveniences we often take for granted. To the dismay of what would be considered "not-ideal" conditions for a fully produced film, our mentors & fellows found balance in our modern necesisities that only a generator could cure and the wild outdoors, surrounded by saltwater, rich culture and a desire to be in the moment.

The outcomes of this film display a conflict between two very different worlds, and embodied that same struggle, giving our fellows insight and understanding of which we will all forever contain a profound respect and a desire to protect that balance. 

Rapa Nui | Easter Island, Chile


Max Lowe

Clay Mason

Matt Vanatta

Sam Hedlund

Executive Producer
Céline Cousteau

Executive Producer 
Adam Benton

Simone Staff

Assistant Camera
Emma Stehli

Assistant Editor
Nicole Johal

Cailie Kafura

Isaac Lowe



The Cousteau Fellowship: 2017
Rapa Nui | Easter Island


  Alicia Rubio:  Editor

Nicole JOhal

Nicole is a change-seeking creative and filmmaker with a background in post-production, film production, and story development. She has a well developed experience in scripted narrative, music video, and documentary short films. She hopes to create visual content that moves and inspires a greater social and environmental consciousness. Nicole is a Southern California-native and recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies.

  Siobhán Wetzel:  Producer

Simone Staff
Assistant Director
Director Of Photography

Simone is a senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has spend her whole life growing up in and around the ocean: surfing, sailing and exploring the seas. There hasn't been a time that she doesn't remember having a camera in her hand to document and remember those fleeting moments that pass us by. She always pushes herself to better her camera skills and become a better documentary filmmaker and photographer. This is her passion. 

  Nicole Laughlin  (Social Media)

Cailie Kafura

Cailie is a producer, activist, advocate, and lover of the environment and people of the world. Her travels and life experiences have shaped her passions and desire to protect our world for future generations to experience. She is currently focusing her time and attention producing impact driven documentary films and organizing grassroots campaigns to ensure our world is a much better place. She also hopes to become a tree in her future life. 

Isaac Lowe

Montana-native Isaac Lowe-Anker grew up with the Rockies in his backyard, raised in a family that instilled an appreciation for both the outdoors and art at an early age. Isaac currently goes to school in northwest Washington State, where is continues to hone his craft as an illustrator. 


Emma Stehli
Director (Introspective Film)
Director Of Photography

Emma Stehli was born and raised in the sweet small-city that is Portland, Maine. She grew up around photography and film from an early age. As the daughter of a free-lance photographer, Emma fostered an early passion for visual storytelling. This interest led her out West, where she now pursues Film and Media at UC Santa Barbara. With an emphasis in cinematography, Emma has continued to learn and further her craft both through her courses and directing and filming in the field. 

THE 2017 Mentors