Monday, March 7, 2011

Filmmaker Q&A: Jeff Litton,"Save Sharks, Don't Serve Them"

“Save Sharks, Don’t Serve Them” comes at a timely moment with CA Assembly Bill 376 being hotly debated. Almost all species of sharks all over the world are threatened by humans, despite stereotypes saying the opposite. Shark finning is a cruel and inhumane practice, and is impact is not just moral it’s ecological. Jeff Litton’s film highlights the plight sharks are facing, as well as their powerful and graceful presence. We should not serve, or fear, sharks, we should all work to save them. Catch “Save Sharks, Don’t Serve Them” on Saturday March 12th at 1:00pm. Click here to get your tickets now.

What is your overall summary for the film?

“Save Sharks, Don’t Serve Them” is a film that brings viewers face to face with beautiful sharks from around the world, and then exposes the crisis that all sharks are in today. San Francisco has the perfect ability to set the example for the world of shark conservation.

What was your inspiration for creating the film?

Looking a shark in the eye proves wrong every fear Spielberg ever gave you. Sharks are peaceful, and more afraid of us. In fact they have every right to be.

What was the most challenging part of creating the film?

The most challenging part of the film is searching for the bottom of a story as big as illegal shark fishing. The effects of shark fin soup don’t weigh only on the pockets of the buyer, nor even the life of the shark; the illegal industry fuels the operations of narcotics and slavery, not to mention a heavy hand in governments. It all ends when Shark Fin Soup ends.

What do you want to impart on your film’s viewers?

People leave the theatre with a better appreciation for sharks and the gravity of their peril. Hopefully enough people can join together in a coalition of citizens interested in saving sharks, and if our message coincides with those of our officials, then we can come a long way towards protection.

What was the most enjoyable part of creating the film?

Surely the best part of filming sharks is the connection you feel in the presence of a giant. If dogs and bees can sense fear, then imagine what could be sensed with the sophistication of a hammerhead shark.

Who (or what) is your inspiration?

A shark approaches from the distance, and it’s swimming straight for you. Camera’s rolling & you keep looking between the camera and the real thing. It approaches until 2 feet away, turns left, and you feel the gentle currents wash past. That’s not inspiration, it’s zen.

How or why did you begin creating ocean-focused films?

One day a friend and I were towing a trash net across San Francisco Bay, and we pulled out a piece of plastic as big as your palm. It was the corner of a bag of chips, and by the branding, the plastic was more than 40 years old. The problems of the ocean aren’t controversial, it’s as simple as a sustainable future. Ocean health has nothing to do with race, nor geography, it is a world endeavor. The answers are in every question like, ‘How do we stop killing all the sharks from the ocean?’

Why did you choose to submit your film to the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival?

The message from the Governor of Galapagos is addressed to government of San Francisco, and the people, a plea for shark conservation. San Francisco is part of a huge shark conservation movement taking place now and to continue in the future. The bay represents the mix of rich culture met with founding ideas and principles from the entire state of California.