"It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen."

Friday, December 23, 2011

Naked Apes Outta Control

We are too stupid to live.

It was just plain luck that a new movie came out, Sharkwater, AND the director/producer/cinematographer was going to be present for one night only to give a talk and answer questions. I could ask Rob Stewart questions all day long (and he’s from Ontario no less). I only got one in amidst a flurry of some really annoying questions that were clearly answered in the film. But he happily re-explained the film for everyone over and over. He's a hot environmentalist and a nice guy.

It’s a must-see movie. I recommend it over Shortbus even. But it’s not for the little ones. It’s got the kind of real-life violence I had to watch through the gaps between my fingers. Violence against sharks that is. And turtles and seals and other beautiful creatures of the ocean.

The survival of sharks means the survival of the whole food chain - and us. I can't explain it all here. Just go see the film already!

I knew that fishers (the gender-neutral term for fishermen?) tend to catch a lot of stuff they don’t want – I remember the anti-tuna years because too many dolphins were being caught in nets. But I love the analogy used in the movie after showing a 60-mile long stretch of bated hooks in the ocean. It’s like running a line of traps 60 miles long through the forest when you hope to catch, say, some deer (or perhaps a better analogy would be using these traps in the forest to catch cows and pigs). It would trap all sorts of unwanted animals – moose, rabbits, foxes, dogs, porcupines, bears, baby foxes (I love foxes), pregnant deer, etc. Thousands of animals would die a slow painful death, and be left there to rot.

Happens every day in the ocean.

Stewart told us it wasn’t the film he intended to make. He was going to make a pretty movie about the beauty of sharks. But he caught a ride to a Costa Rican island with a bunch of activists headed by Paul Watson, one of the founding members of Greenpeace. They all got charged after trying to stop a group of illegal shark-poachers, and the movie dramatically changed course.  Watson gave a perfect speech on the power of a small group of individuals to change the world.

Stewart says his next project will be creating a reality show with biologists and conservationists, and have them travel to different parts of the world with the challenge of affecting the environment in some way – and, at the same time, sleeping with each other and stabbing each other in the backs like any group of 15 people might do if kept in close quarters for long enough (he didn't say that last bit, but I could tell he was thinking it).

I can’t wait!

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