Screened Saturday, October 10, 2009
Former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry (“Flipper”) came to realize that these deeply sensitive, highly intelligent and self-aware creatures must never be subjected to human captivity again. His mission brings him to Taiji, Japan where, under cover of night, fishermen driven by a multi-billion-dollar dolphin entertainment industry and an underhanded market for mercury-tainted dolphin meat, engage in an unseen hunt. The nature of what they do is so chilling—and the consequences are so dangerous to human health—they will go to great lengths to halt anyone from seeing it. So O’Barry joins forces with filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and the Oceanic Preservation Society to get to the truth of what’s really going on in the cove and why it matters to everyone in the world. With the local Chief of Police hot on their trail and strong-arm fishermen keeping tabs on them, they recruit an Ocean’s Eleven-style team of underwater sound and camera experts, special effects artists, marine explorers, adrenaline junkies and world-class free divers who will carry out an undercover operation to photograph the off-limits cove, while playing a cloak-and-dagger game with those who would have them jailed. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery that adds up to an urgent plea for hope.