Great White Lies

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Focusing on the Western Australian Government’s decision in January of 2014 to hunt and kill the white shark, a protected species in Australia, filmmaker Skyler Thomas visits Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand to learn more about the shark culling practices in each of those locations. Interviewing scientists, politicians, surfers, and activists, Great White Lies thoroughly examines the history of shark culling and ultimately asks the question, “Is this really about human safety or is something else taking place here?”

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Description

Great White Lies front cover_smWestern Australia isn’t the first place to cull sharks, but in a day and age where we are supposedly making progress in our understanding of sharks, what does it mean outdated practices continue to pop-up rather than disappear? The reputation of sharks is improving in certain circles, but is that being dwarfed by the population who still fear sharks as movie monsters?

When less-lethal and proven alternatives are rejected, not to mention less expensive practices, do those who push for shark culling have political and financial agendas that have nothing to do with public safety?

When countries that have already listed the white shark as a protected species actively hunt that same species, what does that mean about the reality of being a “protected species”?

How did the WA Government get the Federal Minster of the Environment to approve the killing of a protected species? The dirty politics will astound you.

When animal populations recover from decades of over-hunting, and we react by killing those same animals, what does that mean about our willingness to share the planet?

How important of a role does the power of fear on the human psyche play in media manipulation as well as political agendas?

What’s the truth about the success of existing shark culling? And how did shark culling begin in the first place? Both answers may surprise you.

Features footage shot by Skyler Thomas in New Zealand, South Australia, New South Wales, California, Isla de Guadalupe, The Neptune Islands, Western Australia, and South Africa.

2014
Produced and Directed by Skyler Thomas
50 minutes
Closed Captioned

Cast:
Features moving footage as well as an incredible collection of interviewees, including:

Scientists:
Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, Dr. Malcom Francis, Dr. Rachel Robins, Dr. Christopher Neff, Prof. Christopher Lowe, Professor Jessica Meeuwig

Shark legends:
Chris Fallows and Michael Rutzen in South Africa and Andrew and Rodney Fox in Australia. David McGuire and Ocean Ramsey in the United States.

Politicians:
Senator Lynn MacLaren and Sen. Rachel Siewert in Western Australia. Councilman Lee Vandervis and Mayor Dave Eggers in New Zealand.

Sea Shepherd:
Jeff Hansen, managing director of Sea Shepherd Australia.
Sharnie Connell, leader of the New South Whales anti-cull movement.
Surfers, divers, and ordinary citizens who fought the cull.

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