Defend, Conserve, Protect

Defend, Conserve, Protect

A Nail-Biting, Edge of Your Seat Adventure in the Southern Ocean.

Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Paul Watson, Peter Hammarstedt
Director: Stephen Amis
Genre: Documentary, Drama
Rated: PG
Running Time: 76 minutes

Synopsis: Four vessels of the Sea Shepherd fleet set out on their 9th campaign, 'Zero Tolerance', to police the pristine waters of the Antarctic, the world's only international Whale Sanctuary, where the Japanese so-called 'Research' fleet is openly intent on harvesting thousands of protected Minke whales.

The vessels - the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker, the Brigitte Bardot, and the secret weapon on its maiden Sea Shepherd voyage, the Sam Simon (donated by The Simpsons creator/writer himself) are crewed by a volunteer guerrilla navy funded by the citizens of the world, filling a law enforcement vacuum.

The expedition is lead by 28-yo Captain Peter Hammarstedt, on the Bob Barker, who carries with him the resolve of Melville's Captain Ahab -only Hammarstedt hunts the whaling ships not the whales.

The four vessels are fitted with cameras and go-pros to capture the campaign over 4 months at sea. The contemporary footage is woven together with extensive interviews and archival footage to present a portrait of one of Sea Shepherd's campaigns, but representative of the ongoing battle to save our oceans.

Defend, Conserve, Protect is more than just a polemical battle on the high seas. In a recent report the usually non-alarmist United Nations warned the world had only 12 years left to turn around global warming. Through the lens of passionate activists, Defend, Conserve, Protect epitomises the importance of direct non-violent action and intervention, and reveals what it takes to step out of your comfort zone and make fundamental change – because from one drop of water does a mighty ocean flow.

Says producer/director Stephen Amis, "Across the planet there's never been a more important time for people power and Defend, Conserve, Protect captures the spirit of global activism – where real people show raw, unvarnished fear and heroism against terrifying odds."

Defend, Conserve, Protect
Release Date: July 25, 2019

The Story

It's the most critical time in human history, where humans are at war with each other trying to protect and conserve the planet's dwindling natural resources or consuming them at an alarming rate.

Set far from the world's eyes in Antarctica, the most inhospitable environment on Earth, the Japanese so-called "Research" fleet are openly harvesting thousands of whales in the world's only international Whale Sanctuary. At battle in these freezing waters, are Sea Shepherd, a volunteer guerrilla navy funded by the citizens of the world, and the Japanese whaling fleet, hell-bent on killing protected Minke whales.

Fresh from winning Best International Feature Documentary at the American Documentary Film Festival, the largest documentary film festival in the USA, and narrated by the legendary Dan Aykroyd, Defend, Conserve, Protect is told from the point of view of the international activists, and features incredible underwater footage of Minke Whales. It is an empowering documentary photographed in one of the most pristine and ferocious places on Earth. We get up close and personal with these whales as they mate and breed on the Great Barrier Reef, before swimming south on their impending collision course with man.

With striking images of ships colliding, whales being killed with exploding harpoons, and incredibly brave young people standing up for what they believe in, Defend, Conserve, Protect creates an unfolding sense of drama that leaves audiences on the edge of their seats. However, Defend, Conserve, Protect is more than just a polemical battle on the high seas.

In a recent report the usually non-alarmist United Nations warned the world had only 12 years left to turn around global warming. Through the lens of passionate activists, Defend, Conserve, Protect epitomises the importance of direct non-violent action and intervention, and reveals what it takes to step out of your comfort zone and make fundamental change – because from one drop of water does a mighty ocean flow.

Says producer/director Stephen Amis, "Across the planet there's never been a more important time for people power and Defend, Conserve, Protect captures the spirit of global activism – where real people show raw, unvarnished fear and heroism against terrifying odds."

Defend, Conserve, Protect also explores whales' crucial role in maintaining global temperatures. Whales can poop anywhere they want. They have the entire ocean to relieve themselvess, so most of the planet can theoretically be their toilet. Yet, despite having a near-universal lavatory pass, whales often relieve themselves near the surface. They feed in the depths of the sea to then return to the surface and release "flocculent fecal plumes" – clouds made up of nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron, that create what is called a "whale pump" – one of the many ways our planet's seas and atmosphere is constantly being recycled.

Background

Produced in Australia and successfully financed through a global crowdfunding effort, where over 750 passionate environmentalists pledged funds, Defend, Conserve, Protect took more than four years to make, and was shot across France, The Netherlands, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica.

Says Amis, "The film is a jigsaw puzzle of contemporary footage, archival footage, and extensive interviews that weave together a dramatic tapestry of one of Sea Shepherd's major oceanic campaigns to Antarctic waters. With twelve cameras across 4 vessels and over 4-months at sea, we literally had thousands of hours of footage to log, assemble and edit. The editing process was so complex it took 10 times longer than the shoot itself."

Defend, Conserve, Protect is a nail biting, edge of your seat adventure. The film was created in a manner similar to a narrative feature, with an incredibly evocative 5.1 theatrical sound mix by acclaimed sound designer Chris Goodes and music score by Ronnie Minder. Amis wanted the film to be as much an epic musical and auditory journey as much as a visual one and avoided traditional narration by giving a lyrical human voice to the whales via the voice of Dan Aykroyd (who generously donated his time towards the project.) Says Amis, "We recorded Dan's voice-over in Kingston, Canada, inside a little recording studio that was originally a bank. The recording room was tucked inside the vault, and the only way in was through the fortified two-foot-thick vault door which needed to be closed for each take."

Featured in the film is Captain Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace and the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society; along with 28-year-old Captain Peter Hammarstedt, the youthful but determined Captain who helms the campaign to Antarctic waters.

Says Watson of our current environmental issues, "The Earth is like a giant spaceship travelling around the galaxy, and we humans are passengers just having a good time of it. The trouble is we're killing the crew, the flora and fauna whose job it is to maintain the ship that keeps us alive."

Says Hammarstedt, "Sea Shepherd directly intervenes in the slaughter of marine wildlife. We measure our success by the number of lives we save and the number of criminal operations we shutdown."

Say Amis of the movie, "Defend Conserve, Protect is a microcosm of our environmental issues. It's our responsibility to defend and preserve the world in which we all live."

Defend, Conserve, Protect
Release Date: July 25, 2019




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