In the 1960s, Richard O'Barry enjoyed a lucrative career as a specialized animal trainer; he captured the five dolphins that were used in the popular television series Flipper, and taught them the tricks and special commands they used on the show. Four decades later, O'Barry has renounced his former life as a trainer and become an animal rights activist, speaking out against the hunting of aquatic mammals and keeping them in captivity. Now O'Barry has joined forces with former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos and a team of filmmakers, divers and activists to take on the Japanese town of Taiji, which practices heinous abuse against dolphins. It was all chronicled in Psihoyos' documentary film, The Cove, which is now available on DVD and is currently up for Best Documentary Picture at this year's Academy Awards. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with the film's director, Louie Psihoyos to discuss the documentary, shooting in Taiji, his own mercury poisoning, the legacy of Rick O'Barry, and what you can do to stop dolphin abuse. To watch our exclusive interview please click on the video clip below.
Rick O'Barry is not welcome in Taiji, a town along the Japanese coast where hunting dolphins is a major part of the local economy, but he and a group of activist filmmakers made their way into the city as well as the carefully guarded harbor in hopes of documenting the abuse of dolphins by fisherman and the poisoning of the waters that has taken a toll on the marine ecology. O'Barry and his colleagues captured some beautiful underwater footage as well as shocking images of how the town's fisherman have sullied the dolphins and their habitat, and director Louie Psihoyos has used this material as the basis for the documentary. Starring Rick O'Barry, Louie Psihoyos, Joe Chisholm, Mandy-Rae Cruickshank, Charles Hambleton, Simon Hutchins, Kirk Krack, Isabel Lucas, Roger Payne, John Potter, Dave Rastovich, Paul Watson and Hayden Panettiere. Directed by Louie Psihoyos, The Cove, is currently available on DVD.