In Revolution, the globe-trotting, shirt-doffing filmmaker behind the save-the-fish documentary Sharkwater, turns his attention to a more sizable cause: planet earth
You made a modest little documentary called Sharkwater about the global shark-finning trade. It ended up earning $5 million and winning dozens of awards. How did that success change your life?
It was incredible. I got to travel around the world and go to a slew of massive film festivals. High-fives. Big parties. Richard Branson and Hayden Panettiere supported the cause, and Leo DiCaprio was a big fan. The film taught me how to be a director and enabled me to make more movies.
How did a kid from north Toronto become an eco–poster boy in the first place?
I was chubby and had a really bad stutter. My parents would take me on exotic vacations and I sort of found a connection with the amazing animals I’d see. Eventually, I became a wildlife photographer—and along the way lost the stutter, and the chubbiness. It was a dream job. When I learned about shark-finning practices, I knew I had to do something.
Your parents are co-CEOs of Tribute Entertainment Media Group—the company that makes those magazines you read in movie theatres. Have they continued to play a role in your career?
They were the executive producers and financiers for Sharkwater and my new film, Revolution. They put me in rooms with CEOs that a 22-year-old would otherwise never have gotten into.