Everyday Activist - Sharkwater

Posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 08:00 PM

Review: Sharkwater (2006)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

Happy National Canadian Film Day! ~Sharkwater

This article is my form of protest, because my favorite Canadian film didn’t make the cut for Canada’s all-time top ten as voted by the Toronto International Film Festival people even though the film maker, Rob Stewart, is originally from Toronto. I agree the number one film, Zacharias Kunuk’s Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, was a good movie, though I don’t remember much of it given that it screened in 2001. Even on the CBC favorites, Sharkwater didn’t make the list despite being one of the highest grossing films in Canada to date.

On top making a lot of money and winning accolades from all over the world, Sharkwater made a difference and continues to do so. It brought international attention to illegal shark finning, celebrities supported the cause and encouraged a huge food store chain, Loblaws, to examine their supply chains to make sure the fish they buy are from sustainable sources. To date over 100 countries have made shark finning illegal. That’s quite an accomplishment; given Rob was a 22 year old young man, fresh out of university, when he made Sharkwater. True, his parents had connections that supported him, but his love for the oceans and the sharks as well as his undeniable talents as a wildlife photographer and story teller make the movie memorable.

Before Sharkwater became a movie, Rob’s campaign to save sharks actually started out as print advertisements, which no one acknowledged. Then he decided film was a better medium to convey the message. I had started scuba diving in 2006 which was around the time the film came out and while I don’t remember seeing the print ads, I remember reading interviews about Rob Stewart in diving magazines, fighting flesh eating disease to go back to saving the sharks. Can’t imagine why that fact would stay with me nearly ten years later! To make sure Sharkwater continues grab attention, Rob bought back the rights from Warner Brothers to have the ability to screen the movie for free.

The Canadian film industry needs to do more to support young film makers like Rob Stewart and Jennifer Sharpe. If her name sounds familiar, I recently reviewed her movie, Traceable which aired on MTV April 24th, 2015. When we celebrate Canadian film, we need to think more about the wider implications these movies have on our world, not just about artistic value. Granted The Fast Runner brings attention to a northern aboriginal tribe, but movies that inspire people to care about where their clothes come from or expose the ecological damage of the fishing industry, make the world a better place, not just in Canada. Australians have been asking for awhile about how to have Revolution, Rob Stewart’s latest project, screened in their country. Now it’s available worldwide.

If you would like to see why I passionately believe Sharkwater to be the best Canadian of all the time, visit Sharkwater.


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