Episode 04 - Sea of Shadows

With Guests: Richard Ladkani, Dr. Cynthia Smith & Jack Hutton

A deep dive into Sea of Shadows, a powerful documentary about the fight to save the Vaquita from extinction in a habitat rife with organized crime; with filmmaker Richard Ladkani and film subjects, Dr. Cynthia Smith and Jack Hutton.

Richard discusses his path to being a powerful documentary filmmaker started with Jane Goodall (1:57) and how Leonardo DiCaprio’s call changed everything in a pursuing a story that seemed impossible (4:43).

Cynthia then discusses the issue and effort from the veterinarian’s point of view (7:40). Jack opens up about why he dropped out of school to get involved with Sea Shepard and the danger they now face every day (11:00).

Richard explains the safety preparation involved with a mission like this and the peril they came face to face with while shooting (14:05). He discusses the role of the “real life James Bond” Andrea Crosta and what Earth League International is doing to confront this problem (SP) (17:30).

They discuss the corruption in Mexico (22:18) and reasons that footage may have been left out of the film (24:15).

The conversation turns back to Cynthia and the “emotional heart” of the film (26:58). Jack picks up with the fight that is continuing to this day and the positive impact of the film (29:06). Turning back to the filmmaking side, Richard discusses the strategy in the style of the film (33:51).


Cynthia rounds out the conversation with the dire but hopeful state of the Vikita today (40:14). She discusses the importance of filmmakers telling stories like this (45:14) and Jack urges everyone to get involved in the fight for conservation (46:53).

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