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Toronto premiere of NFB documentary Bluefin in Hot Docs’ Films Changing the World series 2017 Wildlife Award at San Francisco’s International Ocean Film Festival.


“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

December 7, 2017 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

On December 19 at 6:30 p.m., the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema is hosting the Toronto premiere of writer/director and cinematographer John Hopkins’ National Film Board of Canada documentary Bluefin as part of Hot Docs’ Films Changing the World series, which brings together must-see docs, revealing staggering new perspectives and stories. Hopkins, who received the 2017 Wildlife Award at San Francisco’s International Ocean Film Festival and the Best Atlantic Filmmaker Award at the Lunenburg Doc Fest for Bluefin, will be in Toronto for a Q&A after the screening.

Hopkins arrives in Toronto following Bluefin’s successful run on the international festival circuit, with 19 Official Selections. The filmmaker shot the doc 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 BlackfishThe 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.

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.


Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailer, credits, synopsis: Bluefin 

Associated Links 

Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.