Berkeley-based Earth Island Institute is behind the making of The Cove, which won an Oscar for best documentary Sunday night.
The movie details the work of the institute’s Save Japan Dolphins coalition and marine specialist and activist Ric O’Barry, focusing on the largest remaining annual dolphin slaughter in the world, which takes place in the Japanese seaside town of Taiji.
The documentary received plaudits at various film festivals worldwide, including the Audience Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival as well as audience awards at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto, the Newport Film Festival, the Sydney International Film Festival and the Seattle International Film Festival among others.
The documentary, directed by Louie Psihoyos and the Oceanic Preservation Society, is an attempt to raise awareness and to garner public support to end the slaughter of dolphins and whales in Japan.
“We will be working hard this spring and summer screening the Japanese version of The Cove throughout Japan." said Mark J. Palmer, associate director of the Earth Island Institute and Save Japan Dolphins Coalition. "We need to bring the truth about dolphins and whales to the Japanese people—that is what will end the slaughters.”
Palmer sent the Planet O'Barry's statement on the Oscar win.
“Winning the Oscar is an amazing honor, and it does have a real impact in Japan," said O'Barry, Earth Island Institute’s Campaign Director for Save Japan Dolphins. "But so few people have seen this film, and let's be honest, with the exception of the biggest stars, most people don't listen to the speeches. I wanted people watching to know that they can take action to help end this terrible slaughter. People who text (DOLPHIN 44144) in will immediately get our petition to the Japanese Ambassador to the US, Japan's Prime Minister, President Obama, and Vice President Biden. They can sign right there from their phone. We'll also send them videos they can share and updates on the campaign."
The Oscar-nominated documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America also has Berkeley connections. Directors Rick Goldsmith and Judith Ehrlich are both based in Berkeley. Read Gar Smith's review here .
For more information on the campaign to save dolphins or to read O'Barry's blog, visit savejapandolphins.org.