Closing out this week’s US Documentary Competition profiles: Louie Psihoyos’ RACING EXTINCTION, a wake-up call to the dangers of mass extinction on our planet.
Sundance Program Description:
Louie Psihoyos’ THE COVE (2009 Sundance Film Festival, US Documentary Audience Award) exposed viewers to the brutal practice of dolphin slaughter. The Academy Award-winning director now bears witness to a global problem – mankind’s role in precipitating mass extinction, potentially resulting in the loss of half of the world’s species.
Believing that images can stimulate empathy and in turn change behavior, Psihoyos joins forces with activists, scientists, nature photographers, and cutting-edge inventors to draw attention to the dangers we face. While covert operations reveal the horrific black-market trade in endangered aquatic species, the film’s broader lens uncovers the even more disastrous consequences of human activity, chiefly the release of ocean-killing methane and carbon from energy consumption.
With stakes as high as the survival of life on the planet, RACING EXTINCTION dispenses with apathy or fatalism to emerge as an urgent, affirming call to action to stem the tide before it’s too late.
Psihoyos re-teams with several key players from THE COVE, including writer Mark Monroe, whose other Sundance credits include this year’s DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON, as well as FED UP (2014), WHO IS DAYANI CRISTAL? (2013), SOUND CITY (2013), THE SUMMIT (2012), CHASING ICE (2012), and THE TILLMAN STORY (2010); producers Fisher Stevens, who also co-directed and produced alum CRAZY LOVE (2007), and Olivia Ahnemann; and editor Geoffrey Richman, who also cut Sundance docs THE ORDER OF MYTHS (2008), GOD GREW TIRED OF US (2006), and MURDERBALL (2005, special jury prize for editing). Joining Richman as editors are Jason Zeldes, who also edited 20 FEET FROM STARDOM (2013), and Lyman Smith. Among the executive producers are John Paul DeJoria, who served in the same role for Sundance audience award winner FIELDS OF FUEL (2008); and Paul G Allen and Jody Allen, who count among their combined credits Sundance docs PANDORA’S PROMISE (2013) and THE BLUES (2003) as well as fiction films HARD CANDY (2005) and COASTLINES (2002).
Why You Should Watch:
As noted in my program description above, Psihoyos’ follow-up to THE COVE continues to explore themes from that affecting film while expanding the scope to encompass the entire world. Here, cutting-edge technology is employed to create unforgettable images to rouse viewers from complacency and remind them that where there’s the will to make change, there’s still hope for us all.
For more information, visit the film’s website and Facebook page. Check out the doc’s trailer and Psihoyos’ Indiewire filmmaker interview. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.
To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2015 Twitter list.
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