Louie Psihoyos is an avid film director and photographer best known for his contributions to National Geographic. Being an environmental activist himself, Louie works alongside activists and artists that go undercover and beyond, sometimes risking their well-being to capture the important truth on issues that can easily be overlooked without the right media attention.
When Psihiyos was on vacation in the Caribbean, he crossed paths with Hollywood director Steven Spielberg. Naturally, they started talking as their children had become acquainted, Louie told him how he was making a movie for the first time and funnily the first piece of advice Spielberg gave him was to never work with boats or animals. Of course in true entrepreneurial spirit, he ignored this advice and followed his vision resulting in two game-changing documentaries. The Cove and his latest documentary Racing Extinction, which highlights mankind’s role in a potential loss of at least half of the world’s species. Astonishingly with their commitment, patience, and passion they also managed to beat the odds by capturing a Blue Whale on film. Louie Psihoyos and his team certainly deserve our applause!
The Award Winning Documentary: The Cove by Louie Psihoyos
The Cove, Louie Psihoyos’ first feature-length documentary, won over ten awards, including an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. This heartbreakingly raw documentary has been known to turn some viewers away from the screen, due to its graphic nature, capturing the brutal, senseless and unnecessary slaughter of dolphins. Working with activist Ric O’Barry who was a former dolphin trainer for the “Flipper” TV series and the Ocean Preservation Society, they assembled a truly heroic team. The film had such an impact that even today there are activists out in Taijii, Japan, known as “Cove Angels”. These compassionate individuals are giving a voice to the voiceless.
The Slaughter Continues in Taiji, Japan
Despite the teams best efforts in 2009 to raise awareness of this cruel practice, the heartbreak continues to this day, every year from September the 1st until the end of April, the fishermen from the costal town of Taiji continue to seek shoals of migrating dolphins to capture, sell and kill. Abusing the dolphin’s sonar abilities, they send a cacophony of confusing sound waves to the depths of the ocean by banging metal poles on their boats, herding the dolphins back to a small hidden cove, out of the public view.
The animals are trapped behind fishing nets, preventing them from leaving the cove. The fishermen go home to rest whilst the dolphins await their devastating death sentence. The most attractive ones are sold to the entertainment industry, zoos and aquariums across the globe, while the rest is sold on the black market as meat, labeled as whale flesh. Sadly most of the Japanese public are kept in the dark about this.
Louie Psihoyos: World Changer
Dolphins are incredibly beautiful and intelligent creatures that deserve our protection. There are of course many problems of injustice in the world, and we all need to play our part in making the world a safer and more humane place for all to thrive. I will leave you with this quote from Louie Psihoyos, and I urge you to watch The Cove or share this with a friend to raise awareness.
“Every single one of us has the chance to change the world in a very profound way. When we come together, we can do extraordinary things.”
I believe that Louie Psihoyos is making a significant change in the world, raising awareness and sharing these not so light issues through first-hand emotional experiences and that, in its self, is a beautiful thing to do. Compassion can go a long way in this sometimes cruel world.