Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem will star in and produce “Sanctuary.” The film is part of the campaign to create the largest protected area on Earth, an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary, and an analysis of how that can be brought about.
Alvaro Longoria, a producer-partner at Morena Films and award-winning doc filmmaker, will direct, re-teaming with Bardem after the Wild Bunch-sold “Sons of the Clouds,” highlighting the plight of the Sahara people.
Javier Bardem will provide a voiceover commentary for the film. Actor Carlos Bardem (“The Zone”) also stars. “Sanctuary” is set up at the Bardem brothers’ Pinguin Films and Longoria’s Morena, one of Spain’s most active production houses. Javier and Carlos Bardem and Longoria will produce.
In late January, Javier Bardem dived 900 feet in a two-man submarine from a Greenpeace boat to the Antarctic Ocean seafloor of the Antarctic Peninsula to discover the extraordinarily variegated and colorful Antarctic ocean-bed world of corral and sponges.
“Sanctuary” will capture the dive, and Greenpeace reels of Antarctic seascapes and marine life, plus, Bardem said, a “colloquial, person-to-person” explanation by scientists and marine biologists of this ocean life, which also takes in whales, penguins and krill. These species are now endangered by climate change, one-use plastic bags and mass fishing practices.
Popular on Variety
But “Sanctuary” shows how the eco conversation has moved on from problems to solutions. A voyage of discovery for Bardem, “Sanctuary” is however, “not about the messenger, it’s about the message, and what we need to do to get that message heard by people who really know how to create change,” Bardem said.
Longoria added: “The idea was to try and tell how these things are done. Not how necessary it is or that we are using too much plastic. We all know that. Now the question is, how can we act, how can we make a difference?”
One step, Bardem said is to create “noise” in traditional and social media. The BBC covered Bardem’s dive. By Feb. 8, “Stranger Things” star David Harbour, who has there million Instagram followers, and “Fantastic Beasts” Alison Sudol, were heading to the Antarctic on a Greenpeace boat and more than 40 celebrities – Gillian Anderson, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren among them – had signed on as ambassadors to a “Protect the Antarctic” campaign.
Greenpeace came to realize that in order to get people’s attention, you need a hook. Longoria said. “What I want to tell in this story is what that hook is, and how the hook works.”
Beyond studying how to reach people, “Sanctuary” will look at the work of scientists and the political struggle for the Sanctuary’s approval.
So in one scene from “Sanctuary,” the Bardems and Longoria will visit Berlin on Tuesday not for the festival but for Javier Bardem to talk to decision-makers and show footage of his trip to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
The call for a sanctuary already has E.U.backing. A final decision will be taken by CCAMLR in October. Already the Bardems’ Antarctic visit turbo-boosted signatures to a Greenpeace Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary petition to one million.
“We want to stay away from these catastrophe docs that say the world is coming to an end, and for audiences to understand that, yes, they can make a difference.”