The way you look at sharks is about to change forever. This is Your Ocean: Sharks, the award-winning film festival hit, made its way to home video for the first time in July.
The documentary follows three of the world’s top marine life artists—Wyland, Guy Harvey and Jim Abernethy—as they take audiences on a voyage that shatters people’s perceptions of sharks. Sylvia Earle, legendary ocean explorer, narrates the adventure, shot in The Bahamas, Asia, Pacific Ocean and New York.
The 48-miniute film reveals up close the misconceptions and myths surrounding these misunderstood predators and promotes a call for global shark conservation. One of the highlights of the film is the story of the relationship between Abernethy and a larger tiger shark named Emma. For Abernethy, a shark behavioral expert, Emma’s role in the film shows an entirely different side to the much maligned and demonized species.
“When I look at Emma, I don’t see a 14-foot tiger shark, I see a peaceful animal that’s established in a relationship with me—a bond of trust,” said Abernethy, who in the film demonstrates just how far he is willing to go with that trust.
This Is Your Ocean: Sharks was part of a campaign led by the Bahamas National Trust encouraging the Bahamian government to increase protection of sharks in their federal waters. This campaign resulted in the prohibition of all commercial shark fishing in its more than 240,000 square miles of territorial waters.
The film, which premiered last year at the prestigious Newport Beach Film Festival, has won considerable critical acclaim, including a Special Achievement Award in Environmental Filmmaking from MacGillivray Freeman Films. It has been shown at various film festivals worldwide.
“It was amazing to be involved with something that had such an emotional impact on the audiences, where people were actually brought to tears,” said Guy Harvey, an internationally acclaimed marine wildlife artist and scientist known for his ardent advocacy for conservation and ocean research. “The loss of these apex predators could cause irreversible damage to the ocean’s ecosystem and result in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to the tourist trade where shark diving has become a big business.”
Artist Wyland, who also composed some of the music in the documentary, added: “I really owe it to the animals I encounter to try to use my art to protect them.”
Film director George C. Schellenger said much remains to be accomplished to protect the world of sharks, which through commercial overfishing and the growing taste and demand for “shark fin soup” is being decimated by tens of millions annually. Scientists with the International Union for Conservation of Nature have estimated that 30 percent of the shark and ray species around the world are threatened or near threatened with extinction.
“The artists tell a great story,” Schellenger said. “We are eager to get this film out to the world. It will continue to make a big difference for sharks, and there’s more work to be done.”
For more information and/or to purchase a DVD copy, go to guyharvey.com.