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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #19: ‘The Cove’ Director Louie Psihoyos Brings the Fight to Land for ‘Racing Extinction’

Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #19: 'The Cove' Director Louie Psihoyos Brings the Fight to Land for 'Racing Extinction'

Louie Psihoyos is a former National Geographic photographer turned filmmaker who also runs a small non-profit called The Oceanic Preservation Society. Their motto used to be, “We’re not trying to save the whole planet – just 70% of it,” a reference that 70% of Earth’s surface is ocean. Now, Psihoyos says, “We realize that our activities on land are destroying the oceans, C02 is acidifying the oceans, pollution, overconsumption et.c, so we’re bringing our fight topside for the next film.”

What it’s about:
It’s an eco-thriller in the same vein as our first film, “The Cove.” For people still too scared to see “The Cove” – It’s like “The Avengers” – but real.

What it’s really about:
A bunch of crazy friends and dreamers who really are trying to save the world by using their special skills – It IS like “The Avengers,” but real.

Biggest challenge:
It’s a big epic undertaking, a film about mass extinction and the mission is not just to educate but inspire the audience. Hollywood producers think of the audience as butts in seats, to them we’re $10 and a box of popcorn. I think of the audience as a mind in a seat but you first have to change their hearts to inspire the audience to action. The hardest part was to create an ending that would leave the audience feeling that it is possible to make a difference.

Any films inspire you?
“Keep on Keeping On,” “Valley Uprising,” “Damnation.”

Cameras used:
Buttonhole cameras, Alexa, Sony F-5 and 55, Canon Mark3’s, Reds, right tool for the right job.

Did you crowdfund?
We did a Kickstarter campaign.

Hopes for Sundance audience take-away:
I want the viewer to realize that we are the last generation of humans that they can literally change the course of the geologic record by making simple upgrades to their own lives, divesting from fossil fuels, eliminating or vastly reducing eating animals will help make large changes preserving wild species. I want the audience to be inspired to make a difference themselves. This film will have images that burn your retinas, like “The Cove” did – you won’t ever look at the world the same way.

What’s next?
A film about world class athletes coming together to destroy the world’s most dangerous myth.

Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2014 festival. For profiles go HERE. Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE.

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