Leonardo DiCaprio-produced documentary “Sea of Shadows,” which focuses on the plight of the critically endangered vaquita, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
The film follows the Mexican Navy, undercover investigators, environmentalists, and journalists, as they attempt to save the world’s smallest porpoise from extinction.
According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, there are less than 30 vaquitas -which reside exclusively in the north of Mexico’s Gulf of California – left in the wild; they are currently the most endangered species of cetaceans in the world.
According to production team Terra Mater Factual Studios, the rescue mission documented by Sea of Shadows gives viewers all the “intensity of a Hollywood thriller.”
Directed by critically acclaimed Austrian cinematographer Richard Ladkani, the dramatic documentary – which will also feature an appearance from sea conservation organization Sea Shepherd – shows the role of Mexican drug cartels in causing the extinction of the vaquita. The cartels use illegal gill nets – deadly to the porpoise – in their attempt to find the valuable totaba fish, aka the “cocaine of the sea,” and sell on to the Chinese mafia.
“When Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers join forces to poach the rare totaba fish in the Sea of Cortez, their deadly methods threaten to destroy virtually all marine life in the region, including the elusive and mysterious whale species known as the vaquita porpoise,” notes Terra Mater on its website.
It continues, “But a team of brilliant scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative journalists, and courageous undercover agents put their lives on the line to save the last remaining vaquita and bring the vicious international crime syndicate to justice.”
“Sea of Shadows” is not the first environmentally-focused film produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, who has also invested in plant-based protein brands, such as Beyond Meat.
The A-Lister produced “Cowspiracy,” an eye-opening documentary – currently available to watch on streaming platform Netflix – which focuses on the detrimental impact of animal agriculture on the planet. The film has inspired people the world over to ditch or reduce their meat intake. Award-winning director Louie Psyhoyos even claimed that “Cowspiracy” “may be the most important film made to inspire saving the planet.”
DiCaprio also produced and narrated “The 11th Hour,” the 2007 documentary about the global climate crises.