Sea Shepherd in Taiji, November 2003
Back in October 2003, Captain Paul Watson sent a team to Taiji, Japan to document the slaughter of the dolphins. The video and photos of that campaign made international headlines and exposed the atrocities of the Japanese dolphin killers to the world.
In November 2003, Sea Shepherd crewmembers Allison Lance of the United States and Alex Cornelissen of the Netherlands cut the nets and freed 15 dolphins, saving them from slaughter. They were both jailed for three weeks before being released and they were both quite happy to trade three weeks of their freedom for the lives of the dolphins.
In response to the freeing of the dolphins and the exposure of the slaughter, the Taiji fishermen erected huge tarp barricades to keep the killing from being documented and it became a crime to wear a Sea Shepherd shirt or hat or to be a member of Sea Shepherd in Taiji.
Sea Shepherd did return in October 2007 along with World champion free surfer Dave Rastovich and celebrities Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) and Isabel Lucas (Transformers Revenge of the Fallen). Sea Shepherd crewmember Simeon Houtman accompanied the surfers and once again the slaughter was given worldwide coverage.
The Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) had to find a way to film on the other side of the barricades where the slaughter was taking place.
OPS invested some big bucks and covertly planted cameras on the beaches, in the air, underwater and in the hills to capture every horrific detail of one of the cruelest and most monstrous massacres of wildlife on the planet.
The result is "The Cove," one of the most extraordinary wildlife crime films ever produced. This film documents and exposes the Taiji dolphin slaughter dramatically, effectively, covertly, and magnificently.
Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson was interviewed for this film in June 2008 in Santiago, Chile during the meeting of the International Whaling Commission and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is very proud to be associated with this powerful indictment of the Japanese dolphin slaughter.
The film has now been acquired by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions for distribution in the United States. The U.K.-based the Works Intl., in conjunction with James Atherton's Quickfire Films Fund, has acquired all other territories. In addition, Participant Media has signed on to perform outreach for "The Cove," working with nonprofits and community groups.
The film is an Oceanic Preservation Society presentation of a Jim Clark production, in association with Diamond Docs and SkyFish Films. The film is produced by Paula DuPre Pesmen and Fisher Stevens and executive produced by Jim Clark.
Link to Review in Variety Magazine
Allison Lance and Alex Cornelissen dove into the bay and swam out to free 15 dolphins penned in to be slaughtered the next morning