A looming disaster in one of the most spectacular environments on Earth sparks a rescue mission unlike any other in Sea of Shadows, a riveting new documentary with the intensity of a Hollywood thriller from National Geographic Documentary Films and winner of the Sundance audience award. When Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers join forces to poach the rare totoaba fish in the Sea of Cortez, their deadly methods threaten virtually all marine life in the region, including the most elusive and endangered whale species on Earth, the vaquita porpoise. Sea of Shadows follows a team of dedicated scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative journalists and courageous undercover agents as well as the Mexican Navy as they put their lives on the line to save the last remaining vaquitas and bring the vicious international crime syndicate to justice.
Richard Ladkani (director and cinematographer) has gained international recognition for his award-winning feature documentaries. His 2016 Netflix original documentary, The Ivory Game, executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, produced by Walter Köhler and co-directed by Kief Davidson, was shortlisted for an Academy Award. An investigative docu-thriller about the illegal ivory trade and the threat of elephant extinction, the movie premiered at the Telluride and Toronto International Film festivals and won multiple international awards. In early 2015 Ladkani and his wife, Anita, founded Malaika Pictures to produce films that shine a spotlight on the most pressing environmental and political issues facing the world today. They are currently developing a scripted feature film based on the bestselling book City of Thorns, chronicling the desperation of life in Dadaab, Kenya, the site of the largest refugee camp in the world, which houses nearly a quarter of a million Somali refugees and asylum seekers. Among Ladkani’s most renowned films are Escape Over the Himalayas, about the plight of Tibetan children fleeing their homeland; The Devil’s Miner, a harrowing look at Bolivian silver mines that won 22 awards; Jane’s Journey, a portrait of conservationist Jane Goodall that was shortlisted for an Academy Award; Vatican: The Hidden World; and Gas Monopoly, a political docu-thriller about Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. Ladkani gained most of his early experience in New York City, where he lived for more than six years before moving back to Europe. His signature “you-are-there” approach to filmmaking gives audiences an immediate and visceral connection to his subjects. Ladkani has taught filmmaking workshops at prestigious film schools and served on international film festival juries. He lives near Vienna, Austria, with his wife and two daughters.
Original Language: English and Spanish
Month and Year of Production: 2019
Color/Black and White: Color
Camera: Scope (2.35:1)
Audio: Dolby Digital
Director: Richard Ladkani
Production: Terra Mater Factual Studios
Producer: Walter Köhler, Wolfgang Knöpfler
Photography: Richard Ladkani
Editing: Georg Fischer, Verena Schönauer
Music / Original Soundtrack: H. Scott Salinas