Mix in some James Bond, a bit of Finding Nemo and some Avengers, and you might get close to a new documentary that will shock you into protecting the planet.
“Racing Extinction” premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival and is the latest film from the team behind the 2010 Oscar-winning documentary thriller The Cove.
Here’s why you should be excited:
Every spy movie needs a good car and Racing Extinction definitely has one.
One of the subplots in the documentary involves a projection artist and a race-car driver who promote the film’s message of beauty in animals on the brink of extinction. They do this with a spot of guerrilla marketing by projecting stunning graphics on the side of buildings before disappearing in their pimped up Telsa Model S.
“I’ve seen the Bond cars before - Hollywood magic,” said filmmaker Louie Psihoyos, in an Outside Online Q & A. “Well, ours is real, and it’s much more important.”
The car is outfitted with electroluminescent paint so the car’s color can changed instantly through electronic currents, according to MNN.com. A camera mounted on the its hood shows how much planes, cars and factories expel carbon dioxide and methane (It’s kinda like thermal imaging, but for bad gases). The Telsa also has it’s fancy projector system in the back, which is controlled by a joystick and beams graphics up onto buildings to spread the message of Racing Extinction.
"The wildlife trade is second only to the drug market in the world. It's that lucrative." - Racing Extinction
Just the trailer alone for Racing Extinction is enough to give you minor heart palpitations. Using hidden cameras in buttons and water bottles, Psihoyos takes you into the dark world of the wildlife trade in Hong Kong.
“The stakes were raised,” Psihoyos told Sundance. “…Everyone had a role to play and we had to stay in character.”
To get the footage, his team behaved much like undercover agents during a bust. One person played a scientific adviser and another played a middleman to bring Psihoyos and the hidden cameras into the backrooms of the wildlife trade.
“About everything endangered in the world is for sale in China.” – Racing Extinction
We’re Headed for a Massive Extinction Event
Besides the gadgets and all the story telling drama, Racing Extinction has a a call action and it's to save the planet.
"Documentaries, to me, are the most powerful way to change the world," Psihoyos told the New York Times. "My hope is that if you can show people the beauty of these animals, there's a chance to save these things."
The film shows how from several angles – the wildlife trade, our all-consuming lifestyle, carbon monoxide emissions, etc. - humans are fast-tracking the exit of half the world’s species. While the film celebrates nature with beautiful cinematography, it also shows heartbreaking footage such as the bloodied aftermath of manta ray hunting in Indonesia.
“Climate is controlled by the ocean… and we are dumping so much carbon in the ocean it can’t take it anymore.” – Racing Extinction.
These filmmakers Have Grabbed Our Attention Before
Not many films have won more awards ,including the 2010 Academy Award for best documentary, than the The Cove, which was Psihoyos’s first documentary as director.
"It’s an expansion on it [Racing Extinction]," he told Sundance. "It picks up where The Cove left off."
The Cove uncovered the brutal dolphin hunting practices in Japan, using shock and awe tactics of hidden cameras and filmmakers in risky situations. Racing Extinction promises to have all that and more.
Watch the trailer below.