Three Shark Savers’ conservation films selected for Beneath the Waves Film Festival

Posted on March 19, 2012
Written by: Shark Savers
Tags: Conservation  Education  Sharks Count 

We are pleased to announce that three of our films have been selected by the Beneath the Waves Film Festival to showcase at its main event on March 23, 2012, in Norfolk, Virginia. The three films highlight Shark Savers’ conservation activities that include engaging divers in ‘citizen science’ in reporting of shark sightings, efforts to promote shark eco-tourism as a replacement for shark fishing/finning, and protecting manta and mobula rays from a relatively new trade in their gill rakers.

In Now, More Thank Ever, Sharks Count, a first film by Samantha Whitcraft, pioneering divers recount their experiences of seeing many sharks when diving along the Florida coast 3 or more decades ago. Today, those shark populations are gone or severely depleted. We only have the memories of these divers to document that the natural state of many marine ecosystems once included healthy shark populations. The film introduces Shark Savers’ new citizen science program, SharksCount, wherein divers record the sharks they see on their dives to provide ‘citizen science’ data that can be used for local shark conservation and education-outreach.




Befriending Giants, a film by Shawn Heinrichs, tells the story of the fishermen of Oslob, Philippines, a small coastal community, who created a positive bond with the whale sharks and an eco-tourism opportunity as a result. The film reflects Shark Savers’ ongoing efforts to celebrate diving with sharks as an important tool for shark conservation. Responsible, sustainable diving with sharks brings financial enrichment to coastal communities and allows people to experience these important animals.



Manta Ray of Hope, a film by Shawn Heinrichs, introduces the Manta Ray of Hope program, a joint effort of Shark Savers and WildAid, with support of a team of manta experts. The organizations recently released a comprehensive report documenting worldwide manta and mobula declines due to the trade in their gills. The report also demonstrates that manta rays are so popular with divers and snorkelers that a single animal can 'earn' more than US$ 1 million over its lifetime for local eco-tourism.



“Shark Savers congratulates our teammates and filmmakers, Samantha Whitcraft and Shawn Heinrichs, for this recognition,” said Michael Skoletsky, Executive Director of Shark Savers. “We are also grateful to the Beneath the Waves Film Festival for broadening the audience for documentary films about the very serious and mostly unregulated damage that we are doing to sharks, rays, and marine life, globally.”

Shark Savers and other showcased films will be shown at the Beneath the Waves Film Festival March 23 from 6:30-8:30 PM on the IMAX screen at the Nauticus IMAX Theatre in Norfolk, Virginia. The Festival takes place from March 21-24, 2012 in conjunction with the 41st Benthic Ecology Meeting, hosted by Old Dominion University. The film festival is also going on tour in the US and abroad in the Summer and Fall 2012. For more information: