— The Dark Reality of Black Market Dolphin Activity Comes to the Small Screen This Summer on Animal Planet —
(Pasadena, Ca.) This summer, the acclaimed, Oscar contender documentary THE COVE will make its world free television debut on Animal Planet. The film – which makes an undercover, stealth investigation into the culling and slaughter of thousands of dolphins in remote Taiji, Japan – uses an ‘Oceans Eleven’-style approach, bringing to light the dark reality of dolphin massacre. Animal Planet will air the critically lauded documentary in the first exclusive window after it airs on the Epix multiplatform network operated by Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), Viacom and MGM.
In his directorial debut, Louis Psihoyos, with producers Fisher Stevens and Paula Dupre Pesmen, follows former Flipper trainer Ric O’Barry’s earnest fight for redemption. O’Barry – who was an active member of the dolphin entertainment industry in the 1960s – came to realize that his role as Flipper’s trainer had contributed to grave problems facing dolphins for the past several decades. Now, O’Barry fights to undo the damage that he played a part in by revealing the monstrous massacre that’s taking place in various pockets of the world’s waters.
The picturesque town of Taiji is the world’s largest supplier of dolphins to the world. But the town has a dark, horrifying secret that it doesn’t want the rest of the world to know. With the help of a myriad of professionals who want to expose the unsettling situation happening in Taiji, Japan – otherwise known as “The Cove” — O’Barry takes on the dangerous but ever-so-important mission of exposing what’s happening in Taiji and why. Underwater sound and camera experts, deep sea free divers, special effects artists and a host of other marine/film experts contribute to this provocative, eye-opening film that captures the wrongdoings of the secretive dolphin industry. The film explores this subject from several points of view including a probe into the dolphin meat market, the abuse of an extremely intelligent species and an investigation into cultural and political reasons for the continuation of this brutal industry.
THE COVE has been generating critical acclaim ever since it walked off with the Audience Award at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. Part environmental documentary, part horror film and part spy thriller, the riveting, heart-wrenching but ultimately inspirational documentary is a contender among 15 films under consideration for the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award. It has already won the prestigious National Board of Review Award for Best Documentary, writer Mark Monroe has been nominated by the Writers Guild for Best Documentary Feature and director Louie Psihoyos has been nominated by the Directors Guild for Best Documentary Feature. The film has also been named to dozens of critics’ year end 10 Best lists.
“THE COVE is just the type of groundbreaking, provocative film that belongs on Animal Planet,” says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. “The film exposed an ugly reality that was veiled from the world for too long a time. We’re honored to bring this remarkable film and the issue of dolphin conservation to television audiences.”
“We are delighted to bring the most exciting, original and prestigious content from our Lionsgate family of companies to cable television buyers around the world,” said Rand Stoll, Lionsgate Executive Vice President of Television Distribution. “Animal Planet is a perfect partner for Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate, and the perfect home for THE COVE.”
THE COVE is directed by Louie Psihoyos, written by Mark Monroe, executive produced by Jim Clark and produced by Fisher Stevens and Paula DuPre Pesman. It is coproduced by Olivia Ahnemann and edited by Geoffrey Richman.
About Animal Planet
Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world’s only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. APM consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 96 million homes in the U.S.; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond; Petfinder.com, the #1 pet-related Web property globally that facilitates pet adoption; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.