Richard Ladkani's nonfiction thriller takes viewers inside fight to save endangered vaquita whale from poachers in the Sea of Cortez
National Geographic, the distributor behind current box office hit and Oscar-nominee Free Solo, has obtained worldwide rights to the environmental-themed documentary Sea of Shadows.
The announcement follows a weekend where the film, directed by Richard Ladkani and produced by Terra Mater Factual Studios in association with Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way, won the Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.
“We’re so thrilled to be partnering with Richard and the entire team, who shares our passion for spotlighting the most urgent environmental issues of our time,” Carolyn Bernstein EVP, Global Scripted Content & Documentary Films for National Geographic, said in a statement shared with Nonfictionfilm.com. “This film is a high-stakes, edge of your seat thriller that viewers will not be able to ignore.”
My hope is that this film can raise awareness and help save this precious ecosystem.
“I am absolutely thrilled that we found with National Geographic the perfect partner for Sea of Shadows," Walter Köhler, CEO/Founder of Terra Mater Factual Studios, said in the statement. “Both of us have the aim to make Sea of Shadows a huge success, but beyond that, we are united in the conviction that we have to save this precious little animal, the vaquita, and that we have to stop the destruction of the entire Sea of Cortez – which Jacques Cousteau once called the ‘aquarium of the planet.’”
Ladkani, whose most recent film was 2016's The Ivory Game, echoed the sentiments of Terra Mater's founder.
“What is happening in Mexico is yet another example of human-caused devastation due to the greed of a few,” he said in the joint statement. “My hope is that this film can raise awareness and help save this precious ecosystem. I could not ask for a better partner in that goal than National Geographic.”
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.