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Directors' Statement: COEXTINCTION

Gloria Pancrazi, Elena Jean, Directors

2021 | 94 minutes

In an emotional action-packed journey, COEXTINCTION follows filmmakers Gloria Pancrazi and Elena Jean as they expose what it will take to save the last 74 Southern Resident orcas from extinction. Ultimately, their findings reveal how the orcas’ endangerment is fundamentally tied to the collapse of wild salmon populations and centuries of injustice against Indigenous peoples. It's a story about coextinction.

COEXTINCTION unearths devastating faults in corrupt, oppressive systems at the root of the

extinction crisis follows a young orcas’ fight for survival and reveals the true nature of our

interconnectedness, where social and environmental justice intersect. It’s a global film with

broad relevance, which amplifies Indigenous visions for change, and inspires bold action to

save the orca and our collective future.

DIRECTORS' STATEMENT - Gloria Pancrazi, Elena Jean

Gloria Pancrazi

COEXTINCTION is a very personal story to me. I grew up fascinated with orcas, watching every documentary, reading every book, and learning everything I could about this animal. When I was 10 years old, I saw orcas for the first time off the coast of British Columbia. It was clear then that I would spend my life working with them.

My early career was focused on how I could help them in captivity, but I never would have

imagined they'd be threatened in the wild as well. In 2017, upon learning the remaining 78

Southern Resident orcas were on the verge of extinction, I moved to a small island in the Salish Sea to monitor them, spending countless hours on the water studying their behavioral patterns. I witnessed firsthand how dire the situation was.

Through COEXTINCTION, I want people to learn from these orcas. They are incredibly

emotionally intelligent beings who celebrate and grieve together. They have no home — they

are each other's home. They work together through adversity and have learned how to coexist. They embody the interconnectedness we need to understand, and are intimately connected to the Indigenous communities we need to listen to.

Elena Jean

In 2017, I traveled to British Columbia to learn more about the endangered Southern Resident

orcas. I was following a curiosity and filming content for a wildlife conservation brand I’d built,

One Species. Little did I know then just how deeply involved in the story of the Southern

Resident orcas I’d become, and just how drastically that trip would alter my path.

From the get-go with COEXTINCTION, I was interested in the big picture: What’s happening to

the orca’s ecosystem? What is this indicator species trying to tell us?

This is what led us to the concept of “coextinction” — the loss of a species, resulting in the loss or disappearance of other species that depend on it. We sometimes forget that the extinction of a species doesn’t happen in isolation, it’s often the result of the vulnerability and degradation of the relationships between that species and other life. Coextinction affects us all, everywhere, and on a global scale.

I’ve put my heart and soul into this project and I’m moved beyond measure by what I’ve seen

and learned over the last few years. All life is interconnected, humans not excluded. If

audiences can understand this through COEXTINCTION, we may be able to save the Southern Resident orcas, the Pacific Northwest, and ourselves.

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