Saturday, Nov 17, 8pm at Bailey Hall Broward College
Sharkwater: Extinction is a thrilling and inspiring action-packed journey that follows filmmaker Rob Stewart as he exposes the massive illegal shark fin industry and the political corruption behind it — a conspiracy that is leading to the extinction of sharks.
From West Africa, Spain, Panama, Costa Rica, France, and even in Florida, Stewart’s third film dives into the often-violent underworld of the pirate fishing trade to expose a multi-billion-dollar industry.
Shark finning is still rampant, shark fin soup is still being consumed on an enormous scale, and endangered sharks are now also being used to make products for human consumption. Stewart’s mission is to save the sharks and oceans before it’s too late.
But exposing illegal activities isn’t easy; protecting sharks has earned him some powerful enemies.
Sharkwater: Extinction continues the adventure. The crew goes through some of the world’s most dangerous fishing ports run by international crime organizations that have infiltrated the fishing industry.
100 – 150 million sharks are killed every year, but only about half of them are reported, including endangered species. Shark populations have dropped more than 90% in the last 40 years. Without the oceans’ main predator, marine ecosystems are being destroyed beyond repair.
The film dives into remote underwater locations to reveal the catastrophic effects humanity has had on the oceans. Illegal overfishing of sharks across the planet has deeper consequences that puts the Earth’s most important ecosystem in danger of collapsing, which threatens all life in, and above, the ocean.
Stewart dedicated his life to conservation, saying: “Conservation is the preservation of human life. And, that, above all else is worth fighting for.” He taught the world to love the oceans and their creatures and not fear sharks through his iconic images of hugging and free diving with sharks and mantas.
Writer: Rob Stewart / Producers: Rob Stewart, Sandra Campbell, Brian Stewart / Executive Producers: Patrice Théroux, Alexandra Stewart, Shannon O’Leary, Joy Shari, Sant Plummer / Co-Producers: Nick Hector, Karen Shaw / Creative Consultant: Sturla Gunnarsson / Associate Producers: Shushana Castle, Damian Gruber / Director Of Photography: Rob Stewart / Cinematographers: David Hannan, Shawn Heinrichs, Jordan Eady, Goh Iromoto, Andy Brandy, Casagrande Iv / Music By: Jonathan Goldsmith / Editor: Nick Hector CCE / Featuring: Rob Stewart, Regi Domingo, Brock Cahill, Madison Stewart, Will Allen
Director: Rob made three beautiful films during his life. FLIFF presented the Florida premieres of SHARKWATER (2006), REVOLUTION (20012) and now SHARKWATER: EXTINCTION (2018).
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Stewart began photographing underwater when he was 13. By the age of 18, he became a scuba instructor and then moved on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, studying in Ontario, Jamaica and Kenya.
Before making Sharkwater (2007), Stewart spent four years travelling the world as chief photographer for the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s magazines. Leading expeditions to the most remote areas of the world, Stewart has logged thousands of hours underwater using the latest in camera and rebreather technologies. Stewart’s highly sought-after images have appeared in nearly every media form worldwide.
While on assignment to photograph sharks in the Galapagos Islands, Stewart discovered illegal longlining, indiscriminately killing sharks within the marine reserve. He tried promoting awareness through print media, but when the public didn’t respond, Stewart decided to make a film to bring people closer to sharks. At the age of 22 he left his career behind and embarked on a remarkable journey over four years and 12 countries, resulting in the epic Sharkwater.
When Stewart boarded Sea Shepherd’s ship, Sharkwater took a turn from a beautiful underwater film into an incredible human drama filled with corruption, espionage, attempted murder charges and mafia rings, forcing Stewart and his crew to become part of the story. During filming, Stewart encountered life threatening obstacles, including diseases such as West Nile, tuberculosis, dengue fever and flesh-eating disease.
Sharkwater has been enormously successful, premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival and winning a “Canada’s Top Ten” award. Sharkwater made history with the largest opening weekend of any Canadian documentary, and was the most award-winning documentary of the year, winning over 35 awards at prestigious film festivals around the world.
Stewart’s hardcover book, Sharkwater: An Odyssey to Save the Planet, was released in October 2007 by Key Porter Books. His book Save the Humans was released in the Fall of 2012 by Random House.
Stewart continues to work towards conservation and environmental education, speaking at the University of Victoria, Yale University, Vancouver Aquarium, ROM, various TEDx events, and others.
Stewart is on the board of numerous conservation groups including WildAid, Shark Savers and the Shark Research Institute, and founded his own charity, United Conservationists, based in Los Angeles and Toronto.
He has made featured appearances on numerous high profile TV shows, including Larry King Live, The Today Show, Tonight Show, The Late Show, Nightline, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, ET Canada, Bloomberg, The Hour, BBC1, MTV and others.
Stewart’s second film, Revolution, again premiered at TIFF and released worldwide in 2013. This groundbreaking documentary has received both critical and audience acclaim and numerous international awards.
Revolution was the first feature film to platform the devastating effects of ocean acidification.
Sharkwater and Revolution have won more than 70 international awards.
Rob lost his life while filming Sharkwater: Extinction, off the coast of Isla Morada in a diving accident. The filming was nearly complete. The circumstances contributing to the tragedy still, and will continue to shake the core of Rob’s many friends and admirers around the globe.
Tonight, Rob’s parents, Sandy & Brian, will present the ROB STEWART ENVIRONMENTAL FILM AWARD, to the FLIFF movie that best exemplifies Rob’s enduring legacy to save our planet.
FLIFF & ROB
We were able to have the Florida Premiere of Rob’s first two films. In 2006, we packed Parker Playhouse and our audience got to meet first hand with Rob Stewart. The film, winner of FLIFF’s Best of Fest, was of course was incredible, and the lasting impression it created was simply inspiring. And Rob himself, so good looking, dedicated, down to earth and intelligent. The scenes of him underwater swimming, photographing and petting the sharks, went far to dispel the myths created by JAWS. Certainly, these apex predators need respect – but Rob taught us so much more. The story of SHARKWATER is not so much about Rob with the sharks as it is Rob teaching us why sharks are essential and crucial to the life of our planet.
We met with Rob again, in 2012 at Cannes, where FLIFF presented him with a Humanitarian Award. That summer, his new film REVOLUTION played for two weeks at the cinema.
We kept in touch with Rob through the years and were ecstatic he had decided to make a sequel to SHARKWATER. On February 1st, 2017, I received a call from longtime friend David Garland. David had introduced us to Rob and played a leading role in getting SHARKWATER to FLIFF. The call was alarming. Rob was missing. He had surfaced after three deep dives, so deep he had to use a re-breather which allows divers to stay under much longer, and does not emit bubbles that often scare away the sea creatures. Now, near the end of the day as twilight began to fall, Rob came to the surface with his diving companion. The companion appeared to be under duress and the dive boat crew hurried to bring him aboard. Rob flashed a thumbs up, and when the boat turned around to pick him up, he was gone. For the next three days a search by air and sea, and by foot along the edges of the Keys took place. We kept in touch with David, Brian and Sandy. We got the word out that searchers were needed immediately. We contacted airplanes, helicopters and boats. Bonnie worked around the clock spreading the word through social media. Calculations were taken to determine if the Gulf Stream could have taken Rob, afloat in his wetsuit north or even to the Bahamas. Finally, the word we never wanted to hear, came. Rob’s body was found well over 100 feet down, almost to the very spot where he had been diving. The complete darkness made the search nearly impossible.
Two months later, Brian and Sandy had purchased a large ship, and retrofitted it to continue to do Rob’s work. The Sharkwater was officially launched at Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale with its mission, to save sharks to save the Earth.
One final note, Rob had shot 90% of the film. He had finished hours upon hours of voice-over work to narrate the story. But no one knew he would not be there to sail through the final stages of wrapping all the footage and storytelling together. The producers and editor did an Oscar worthy job. The film has Rob talking throughout, from start to finish, and it is the most moving film I have seen in eons…hope you will join us at Bailey Hall to see this masterpiece.