Stars Gather to Raise Awareness About Dolphin Cruelty

A sold-out crowd gathered at the Smith Rafael Theater Tuesday night for an evening of music, film and discussion centered on the plight of dolphins in Japan.

Ric O’Barry, originally famous as the trainer of the five dolphins who played TV’s Flipper, is the hero of the documentary The Cove that chronicles his efforts to obtain footage of dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.

O’Barry joined director Louis Psihoyos to document how dolphins came to be water park attractions and the inhumane way in which we’ve come to treat perhaps the smartest animals on earth.

Following a standing ovation as the credits rolled, O’Barry and Psihoyos took the stage along for discussion with the audience.

While the film has toured several movie theaters around the globe, Psihoyos said the most interesting screening was at the Tokyo International Film Festival where many of the movie’s “bad guys” were in the audience. The documentary incited a free speech movement unrelated to the content of The Cove, due to protests against screenings in Japan, he said.

The film is not meant to demonize the fisherman, Psihoyos said. They are innocent figures in the greater scheme of things and the actions of a few in Taiji should not reflect the populace of Japan as a whole, the director told the audience.

“Most are unaware of what is going on in their homeland. We recently delivered a DVD copy of our movie, with Japanese subtitles, to every resident in Taiji,” he said.
Not all the Q&A was serious. Right before Psihoyos flew down to Taiji with O’Barry, he happened to be on vacation a boat away from Steven Spielberg. The two filmmakers’ sons became friends, so Spielberg came to introduce himself, Psihoyos told the audience.

When the legendary director asked Psihoyos what he did professionally, the latter answered that he was a still photographer, but that he was thinking of moving into filmmaking. “Never make a film with boats and animals,” Spielberg advised him.

The Q&A also featured legendary musician Bob Weir and female race car driver and activitist Leilani Munter. On the stage with a guitar and microphone, Weir reflected on visiting a dolphin enclosure while on vacation with his daughter.

Source: SanRafael Patch

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