“This is an important story about [the] greed and short-sightedness that are driving one of the ocean’s most magnificent animals to extinction.” – David Suzuki
September 13, 2018 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada
Award-winning PEI filmmaker John Hopkins will be in San Francisco on September 13 at 11:15 a.m. with his acclaimed National Film Board of Canada (NFB) documentary Bluefin for a special screening and discussion at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, organized by the International Ocean Film Festival and sponsored by the Canadian Consulate of San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
A panel discussion after the film includes Deborah Halberstadt, OPC Executive Director/Deputy Secretary for Oceans and Coastal Policy, California Natural Resources Agency; Lance Morgan, CEO of the Marine Conservation Institute; as well as writer/director John Hopkins.
The September 13 screening also marks a triumphant return to the International Ocean Film Festival, where Bluefin received the Wildlife Award in 2017. Hopkins is back in the Bay Area following Bluefin’s successful run on the international festival circuit with 21 Official Selections, which also included the Grand Award for Best Documentary at the California Film Awards in San Diego as well as the Best Atlantic Filmmaker Award at the Lunenburg Doc Fest.
Hopkins filmed the 53-minute documentary over a period of five years at sea off North Lake, Prince Edward Island, unravelling the unsettling mystery of why normally wary bluefin tuna no longer fear humans, using stunning cinematography to tell the story. Astonished fishermen and scientists offer conflicting explanations as to why the tuna are turning into pets. These powerful creatures, which can grow up to 15 feet in length, are now so strangely friendly and abundant that they will literally eat out your hand.
“Bluefin will turn everything you thought you knew about these incredible giants on its tail. It’s really the first film that sees an ocean fish as the wild animal it is, a thousand-pound warm-blooded giant with gills that wholesales at up to a million dollars. In making my film, I witnessed and filmed a modern oceanic ‘last of the buffalo hunt.’ I was shocked by what I discovered. In the end, Bluefin says as much about the tragic state of the human condition as it does about the tuna. We’ve seen Blackfish, The Cove and Sharkwater. Tuna have been completely off our radar. We are wired to think of them only as food, not extraordinary wildlife. It’s time we finally understood what these incredible creatures truly are,” says Hopkins.
Bluefin features dazzling, slow-motion underwater shots of tuna, designed by Hopkins—who was also the film’s director of photography—and filmed in partnership with cinematographer Christopher Ball. The film also features National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry and The New York Times bestselling author and ecologist Dr. Carl Safina. Story editing on Bluefin is by Emmy Award winner and former NFB producer Peter Starr, while Toronto’s Denis Takacs edited the film. Bluefin is produced by Annette Clarke and Paul McNeill for the NFB’s Atlantic Studio in Halifax. The film is available in Canada for download, to CAMPUS subscribers and for rental at NFB.ca. Bluefin’s US distributor is Gravitas Ventures.
John Hopkins has won more than 20 Canadian and international awards. His documentaries, as well as the films he’s worked on as a DOP, have aired on CTV, CBC, Bravo, Arte, TVO, the documentary Channel and the Discovery Channel. In addition to winning awards in San Francisco and Lunenburg, Bluefin was recently nominated for the 2017 Best Feature Documentary Award at the Raindance Festival in London (England) and a Golden Sheaf at Yorkton. It had its US premiere at the prestigious 2017 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, competing in the Social Justice and Reel Nature categories.
About the International Ocean Film Festival
Since its launch in 2004, the San Francisco-based International Ocean Film Festival has attracted thousands of spectators of all ages from around the world, including film enthusiasts, sea athletes, educators, and environmental supporters. Since then, the Festival has presented over 50 films from 15 different countries and featured post-film Q&A sessions with visiting filmmakers, special panel discussions with content experts, and the Annual Free Student Education Program. It was the first event of its kind in North America, inspired by the well-established ocean festival in Toulon, France, which has continued to draw large audiences for more than 40 years.
Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailer, credits, synopsis: Bluefin
Bluefin screening event
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
International Ocean Film Festival
Canadian Consulate of San Francisco and Silicon Valley