Instead of a film that starts with the public, we are focusing our efforts to creatively inspire those who can have the greatest immediate impact - those who enforce the laws, and can put shark finners behind bars. Before making the film, our producer, Hugo said, "If we can't bring these environmental lawyers to Galapagos and take them diving, then we must make them a film, and bring the sharks to them."
This is a creative project by our innovative idea to inspire environmental lawyers by making them a film. This approach has never been done before. While most films are intended to A, make money and B, educate consumers, neither of these will have an immediate effect to send more illegal fishermen to jail. We have partnered with the union of environmental lawyers of Latin America, and the president of the organization shares our excitement in our innovative approach.
For the last 3 years, we have been working on this collaborative film project, and we will be presenting the film to 100 of Latin America’s finest environmental prosecutors this winter. We will also be bringing an English version to the United States for film festivals and law schools. We hope to inspire more successful convictions and prison sentences for ocean related crimes. We hope to send a message to the shark finners working in the remote ocean: the world is watching.
Sharks are truly amazing creatures, yet many species like Hammerhead Sharks are on the brink of extinction because of one soup ingredient – their fins. A cold reality now faces us head on – we have already fished out 90% of all the sharks on planet earth, and we might have as little as a decade before many shark populations go extinct.
This scarcity is now putting huge pressure on the Marine Protected Areas around the planet like the Galapagos Marine Reserve, Cocos Island National Park, Malpelo Nature Reserve, and many others. These areas are designed as a sanctuary for sharks and hundreds of other marine species, yet their peaceful waters are rushed with illegal shark fishermen every day across Latin America and the rest of the world.
The decline of sharks will affect us all because many sharks are a keystone species in their ecosystem, which has been proven in Hawaii. Furthermore, dolphins are being slaughtered to be used as shark bait, so shark conservation not only helps the ocean ecologically, and economically, but also for the sake of humanity.
Risks and challenges
Filming a topic as huge as the slaughter of sharks is not to be taken lightly, nor is it easy. Days filming are bizarre to say the least when you're returning to the hotel with shark blood on your feet. Speaking with some shark fishermen can be fun, but on occasion the film crew was warned their lives were in serious danger. When you have someone gesturing to you by dragging their closed fist(as if with a knife) across their throat, it makes you feel much safer around the sharks than the fishermen.
We have been able to postpone funding until now to have a good estimate of the remaining costs to successfully finish the project within the next 6 months. This includes post production, printing more than 1,000 DVDs to be distributed among environmental lawyers and judicial authorities, and the cost to bring the film to the congress of environmental lawyers in South America.
A good lesson learned is that the fishermen are not all bad—they are merely players in a very bad industry. By using the law to enforce sustainable management practices, far more people benefit from a living ocean than a dead one. The shark fin industry will be stopped within 30 years, it is simply with or without the mass extinction of sharks.
The best part of the film has been the collaboration among non-profit organizations, government agencies, judicial authorities, National Park personnel, tourism companies, and countless amazingly passionate individuals.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)