Cove, The: Director Louie Psihoyos on the Power of Film

From making my first film, The Cove, to winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary, the past year has been a dream. I often joke that film is a “weapon of mass construction,” and in order to construct a film and have it seen, a filmmaker needs many allies. For The Cove, Sundance Film Festival has been the best ally possible.

The film tells the story of secret dolphin killings conducted off a coast of Japan and the mercury dangers that residents face from eating the animals. At the beginning of our journey, our grandest ambition was that the film would inspire a small legion of activists. But everything changed the moment The Cove was accepted into the 2009 Sundance Film Festival: our story was a given a voice.

At the Festival, we were overwhelmed by the audience response, and overjoyed by winning the Audience Award. We found a distributor, and received invitations from more than 65 other festivals. By having the opportunity to reach a global audience, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in the public consciousness of this issue, the dolphin killings in Taiji, Japan have been hindered, and the people of Taiji are being tested for mercury poisoning.
We have seen first-hand that film is the most powerful medium in the world.  I can’t thank Sundance Festival enough for providing The Cove with the launching pad to take our story around the world.