Today’s ShoWest program featured a screening by Roadside Attractions of “The Cove,” an eco-activist documentary about the yearly slaughter of thousands of dolphins in the small fishing village of Taiji, Japan.
A panel discussion moderated by Anne Thompson of Variety preceeded the screening. Director Louie Psihoyos and producer Fisher Stevens were present in addtion to Howard Cohen, co-president, Roadside Attractions; Ricky Strauss, president, Participant Media, David Spitz, EVP and general sales manager, Lionsgate; and Noel Kendall, director of film operations, Harkins Theatres.
Psihoyos said that he wanted to make a smart, thrilling movie that would work on multiple levels. It appears he achieved this goal for when people speak of the movie they usually point out its combination of documentary interviews and suspenseful action as being elements that make it different from other documentaries in the past. Fisher, an avid scuba diver, described “The Cove” as a hybrid feature-documentary.
“It doesn’t play like a documentary,” said Psihoyos, who worked for National Geographic for 35 years. Psihoyos said when he was doing research for the movie he knew there was a story to tell after visiting Taiji and feeling he had walked into a “Stephen King novel” as the village had an air of secrecy and deception around it.
After the screening many in the audience sat in stunned silence as the credits rolled. Later a good size crowd surrounded Psihoyos and Stevens, obviously deeply moved by their work.