[ESIP-all] CLEAN members: A film you won't want to miss airing globally Wed Dec 2.

Joseph Levine levinejs at me.com
Tue Dec 1 11:40:21 EST 2015

Dear CLEAN members,

This is a film you don't want to miss  tomorrow night, Wednesday, Dec 2.

I first saw it while serving as a preliminary judge for the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, and saw it again (in a slightly re-edited, updated version last night at the Kennedy School of Government @ Harvard. 

"Racing Extinction" doesn't have as much "data" in it as, say, a NOVA ... and that isn't its purpose. It was produced in an effort to reach a wider audience, beyond dedicated environmentalists and PBS viewers. I am not the only person who describes it as "James Bond meets Jaques Cousteau." It combines spectacular cinematography with gritty button-hole cam footage, and mixes interviews with scientists together with covert operations that successfully "sting" dealers of endangered species' meat and body parts. Part of it aims for the heart, and part aims at the TV market-segment called "boy-toys" -- male viewers generally interested in gadgets, gizmos, and ACTION. (Wait 'till those guys see the Tesla tricked out like Bond's Aston Martins.) In this film, all of the above are put into the service of an important environmental message. 

For those of you who don't know Louie Psihoyos by name, he is the incredible fellow who produced "The Cove" about dolphin slaughter in Japan. Take my word for it, this is something different and special. I attended the screening with several friends and colleagues, including a professional editor, a couple of environmental educators, and the science editor of NOVA. All were blown away. Check the link for broadcast times in your area!

The film isn't ALL about climate change ... because it tries to take a broader approach (which I wholeheartedly support) of pointing out that numerous different aspects of human activity all contribute to global change ... including loss of biodiversity.

NOTE: The Harvard/Cambridge audience last night (the kind of group that doesn't let anybody get away with anything) had a couple bones to pick with certain aspects of the film; I'm not saying that it is absolutely perfect. I do say that it is worth watching and considering as an educational tool.

HOPEFULLY, sponsorship and airing of this documentary signals a willingness at Discovery Channel to include some serious and worth-watching films among the pieces of trash like "Moonshiners" and "Mermaids" that have been its standard fare since shortly after the channel was launched. 

Warmly Joe


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