The Sea of Shadows
Walter Köhler and Wolfgang Knöpfler
At a pre-screening of The Sea of Shadows at Soho House, West Hollywood, we met crewmembers of the anti-poaching activist ship Sea Sheperd together with the two other characters in the documentary, among them the Italian investigator Andrea Crosta and former CIA and FBI intelligence officer Mark Davis. Their organization, Elephant Action League (EAL) had formerly worked with Austrian director Richard Ladkani on the Oscar-shortlisted film The Ivory Game.
Crosta’s aim is to track down and help dismantle the international criminal networks trading illegal wildlife, now the fourth largest illegal trade on the planet: «For too long we have focused on the poachers and the buyers at the other end,» he says in his introductory talk, «The people running these illegal networks don’t care about either: they don’t care about confiscations, arrests or inefficient awareness campaigns. Their business is thriving, and nobody goes at them,» Crosta says.
The first scene of The Sea of Shadows takes place at night, at sea, in a wild boat chase where poachers, armed and ready to attack try to shake off the environmentalists. Later, we see them firing shots at their drone, eventually losing the image from the night vision camera, and are left, with them, in the dark.
A global war to save the wildlife
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Criminal species extinction
ECOLOGY: The making of this film is itself an integral part of a drama involving the Chinese mafia, Mexican fishermen pushed into crime, fearless activists, frightened policemen and a rare species of mini whales.