The ninth annual “Ding” Darling Film Series will adapt to distancing and pandemic safety protocols with virtual airings and follow-up discussions via Zoom. It kicks off on Wednesday, Jan. 20, with The Smog of the Sea, a 30-minute documentary chronicling a week-long journey to the remote waters of the Sargasso Sea in search of the legendary plastic “garbage patches.”


The film is available for viewing anytime that day, with a Zoom virtual discussion scheduled for 5 p.m. Pre-registration for the film and discussion are required; visit for links. Those who register for the film will receive an email a day before the showing begins containing the streaming link and password along with a link to the Zoom discussion.


Bailey’s General Store wine buyer Calli Johnson has recommended a wine pairing of Sea Glass Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy with the post discussion.


“The vineyard for this wine is in Santa Barbara, just 20 miles from the ocean,” says Johnson. “A sip of Sea Glass lends to the exploratory nature and adventure of this film.” She recommends calling ahead to order and make sure the wine is in stock.


The Smog of the Sea refers to the haze of microplastics the filming crew found instead of the garbage patches they were expecting. The crew consists of a marine scientist, renowned surfers and other citizen scientists along with musician Jack Johnson, who created the film’s original score.


A multiple film festival selection, The Smog of the Sea draws attention to the deteriorating state of our once-pristine oceans and how to remedy the plague of single-use plastic.


“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge hosts the free film showings with sponsorship from Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts (SCBR). Below is the schedule of the season’s films.


Discussions that follow each film allow visitors to gain more from their documentary-viewing experience by listening to other people’s points of view and analyzing what they just watched. For more information, visit


Wednesday, Jan. 20 – The Smog of the Sea

Wednesday, Feb. 17 – Bird of Prey

Monday, March 8 – A Sense of Wonder

Monday, April 12 – Just Eat It


As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop profits.

To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit or contact Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4, or [email protected].