Academy Award® Winner for the Best Documentary of 2009, “The Cove” follows an elite team of activists, filmmakers, and freedivers as they embark to uncover a dark secret in a hidden cove in Taiji, Japan.
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“The Cove” tells the amazing story of a mission to uncover a shocking secret in Taiji, Japan. Upon arriving in Taiji, the team soon come to the realisation that their movements are being watched and followed closely. In the face of local aggression and widespread secrecy, the team employ techniques reminiscent of espionage, including hidden microphones and cameras disguised as rocks, as their mission to uncover the truth is forced to become covert. The result is a blend of investigative journalism, ecological activism and breathtaking footage. They document local fisherman taking boats around to a hidden cove, that nobody can see, to uncover a harrowing truth: the abuse and slaughter of thousands of dolphins.
Directed by Louie Psihoyos, “The Cove” is a microcosm of the massive ecological crimes happening around the globe. Each year, 20 000 dolphins and porpoises are slaughtered. The dolphin meat, which contains toxic levels of mercury, is then sold throughout Japan and other parts of Asia as food, often deceptively labelled as whale meat. The dolphins that survive are then sold into lifelong captivity.
This unforgettable story has inspired audiences worldwide to action. While the slaughtering of dolphins continues, last year the number of dolphins butchered and taken captive hit a record low. Japan’s annual catch is down to 6000 dolphins from 23 000 when the film was first released. Director Psihoyos says this could be attributed, at least in part, to the gruesome images in the film, which led to increased awareness, pressure from activists, and a declining demand for dolphin meat. “The Cove” also had a ripple effect in the film industry, provoking Judy Bart to get into the film industry by financing and becoming the executive producer of “Blackfish”. So even now, many years after the film first premiered, the spirit of activism and the battle for animal justice that pervades the film continues.
Winner of the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award 2009, “The Cove” puts the issue of the annual dolphin drive hunt in Taiji on the world stage, and shows how a few thoughtful people can change the world for the better.
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Written by Tara Janus