On Thursday, April 25, 2013, CC’s PeaceJam club hosted a screening of The Cove, the 2009 Sundance Film Festival documentary winner. The documentary was a combination of Flipper and The Bourne Identity. According to the summary on IMDb, “using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.”
After the 2-hour screening, the director Louie Psihoyos actually came on stage for a Q&A session. I actually got to ask him a question, so that’s one item struck from my
bucketlist! My question was on whether the documentary received public backlash from Japan, specifically the Japanese government and the town of Taiji (where the yearly dolphin massacre took place). He told the audience that there was actually not that much negative backlash. According to Louie, the whalers and fishermen from Taiji hired a yakuza group (which is actually a registered group under Japanese government, who knew?) to disturb and threaten the distributor of The Cove in Japan. What happend – and this was caught on national television – was the group drove up to the house in large cars and used megaphones to protest the distribution. When this did not work, they actually stormed the house and yelled at the distributor’s wife, frightening his children – all while the distributor was at work. Having caught the public’s attention, people began demanding the Japanese government to show the documentary in theaters, asking why they were not allowed to see a documentary about Japan. Having previously banned The Cove from Japanese theaters, the government was forced to give in.
If you want to help Louie Psihoyos and his team spread the word about the on-going dolphin massacre, go to http://www.takepart.com/cove and, if you are in the United States, text “DOLPHIN” to 44144 to receive updates on their progress.