'Sea of Shadows,' Co-Produced by Boise Film Crew, Tells a Harrowing Tale 

click to enlarge A Mexican Navy soldier keeps watch for illegal poaching vessels.

Courtesy Matt Podolsky

A Mexican Navy soldier keeps watch for illegal poaching vessels.

The plight of the vaquita is complicated. The nearly extinct breed of porpoise is being driven to illegal fishing operations, but at the heart of that is greed, corruption, crime and economically blighted communities.

A Boise film crew, Wild Lens, helped produce a documentary on the critically endangered vaquita, there are believed to be roughly 10 surviving vaquita left in the world. The movie, which National Geographic and Leonardio DiCaprio's company Appian Way helped produce, opened in Boise at The Flicks the evening of Sept. 13.

The film, Sea of Shadows, follows journalists, non-profits, Mexican government officials and non-governmental organizations as they try to save the remaining vaquita. Some of those efforts were fatal to one of the remaining members of that species.

The film is harrowing, heart-breaking and absolutely gripping. The beautiful visuals lay the base for a winding and emotional journey.

It starts in San Felipe, Mexico, a gulf community with a population just shy of 20,000. There, a number of fishermen illegally throw out gill nets to fish for, among other things, totoaba, an endangered species of fish. The reason totoaba are so coveted among fishermen are the swim bladders, an organ that fetches a hefty price in black markets in China—where the organ is used in traditional medicines.

The film uncovers a ring of crime lords helping ship these swim bladders to China, which has connections to Mexican drug Cartel.

It is essential viewing for the environmentally minded.

One of the film's producer's, Matt Podolsky of Wild Lens, crafted another film, a documentary short, titled Souls of the Vermillion Seas, which also covers the vaquita's rapid path toward extinction. A screening will take place during First Thursday in October at Jump. 


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