Racing Extinction, Friday Harbor Film Festival’s next offering in The Director Series follows undercover activists trying to stave off a man-made mass extinction. Scientists predict that humanity’s footprint on the planet may cause the loss of 50% of all species by the end of the century. A team of artists and activists go on an undercover operation to expose the hidden world of endangered species and the race to protect them against mass extinction.
Spanning the globe to infiltrate the world’s most dangerous black markets, and using high-tech tactics to document the link between carbon emissions and species extinction, Racing Extinction reveals stunning, never-before-seen images that truly change the way we see the world. Director Louie Psihoyos has crafted an ambitious mission to pull into focus our impact on the planet while inspiring us all to embrace the solutions that will ensure a thriving, biodiverse world for future generations.
DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT — Louie Psihoyos As a child, I used to deliver papers for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald and at 17, I got my start in making images in their photo department. In my 20’s, I became a photographer for National Geographic. Now, I find myself in a race alongside other environmentalists to save a planet that is losing species at a rate not seen since a comet hit 65 million years ago. Film can still be the most powerful weapon in the world — a weapon of mass construction. I’m interested in radically changing how people perceive a documentary by making it entertaining and using narrative filmmaking conventions. In our new film, RACING EXTINCTION, we used the highest quality production values and a collective of environmental activists to raise awareness of the issue.
With this project, I want to tackle the most important problem the world has ever faced, the epic loss of biodiversity. By combining a compelling film and a groundbreaking activation campaign, we want to create a movement for change.
LOUIE PSIHOYOS (Director) Academy Award®-winning director Louie Psihoyos is the Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), and is widely regarded as one of the world's most prominent still photographers. He has circled the globe dozens of times for National Geographic and has shot hundreds of covers for other magazines including Fortune Magazine, Smithsonian, Discover, GEO, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Rock and Ice. His work has also been seen on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Television and the History Channel. His imagination, wit, and iconic imagery have helped illustrate a wide array of complex subjects and are carried over to his filmmaking.
Psihoyos's first documentary film, The Cove, has won over 70 awards globally from festivals and critics, including the Oscar® for Documentary Feature in 2009. The Cove touches many with its unflinching examination of a dark subject and its ability to reveal the humanity and compassion in each of us. Its underlying themes transcend the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji to address the larger picture of the threat our entire world faces due to human impacts.
Watch Racing Extinction now through September 21 on fhff.org.