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SHARKWATER

SYNOPSIS:
In an effort to protect sharks, Rob Stewart teams up with renegade conservationist Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Their adventure starts with a battle between the Sea Shepherd and shark poachers in Guatemala, resulting in pirate boat rammings, gunboat chases, industrial espionage, corrupt courts and attempted murder charges, forcing them to flee for their lives. Through it all, Stewart discovers these magnificent creatures have gone from predator to prey, and how despite surviving the earth's history of mass extinctions, they could easily be wiped out within a few years due to human greed. The dramatic increase in shark finning, along with the adoption of longline and other unsustainable fishing practices, have cut the shark population by as much as 95% over the last three decades for some species.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Here's a documentary with teeth and a bite that should leave a nasty scar on the conscience of the illegal fishermen who continue to brutally plunder sharks for their fins - and those ignorant fools who consume shark fins in the superstitious and mistaken belief that this flavourless piece of the shark will somehow heal or protect them. The multi million dollar trade - much of it financed by organised crims in Taiwan - has even netted Governments and judiciaries, who (the Costa Ricans) in the film's most sensational sequences, let an illegal fishing boat free while arresting the crew of the Sea Shepherd, who had tried to intervene in the slaughter.

I hope the film makes audiences angry enough to lobby for much greater controls on shark fishing, especially via the notorious long line method. This snares all sorts of marine life along with the sharks, a wasteful and rightly illegal practice in many waters.

Rob Stewart starts his film with a gentle mood of fabulous underwater footage and established his lifelong passion to understand sharks. He tries to correct the heaps of misinformation fed to the public by an ignorant media, positioning sharks at the top of the marine food chain, who for 400 million years helped keep the balance of power under water - with considerable surface impact.

Having established the shark's true identity as a hero, Stewart takes us on board the Sea Shepherd with the bullish Paul Watson, who is really serious about his mission to scare off illegal fishermen wherever he finds them. And he finds them around Galapagos, and around Costa Rica, two of the world's richest gathering grounds (or should that be seas?) for sharks. The film turns into a thriller as the baddies refuse to budge, until the Sea Shepherd gives a growl ... and the amazing ending in which the good guys are arrested for attempted murder. This last action is certain to ignite the fires of outrage among those who understand the film's urgent message.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

ROB STEWART INTERVIEW

SHARKWATER (PG)
(Canada, 2006)

CAST: Documentary featuring Rob Stewart, Paul Watson, Boris Worm, Patrick Moore, Eric Ritter

PRODUCER: Rob Stewart, Brian Stewart

DIRECTOR: Rob Stewart

SCRIPT: Rob Stewart

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Rob Stewart

EDITOR: Rob Stewart, Michael Clark, Rik Morden, Jeremy Stuart

MUSIC: Jeff Rona

RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 15, 2008 (Sydney/Melbourne)







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