Terra Mater Factual Studios, the movie and TV production arm of Red Bull, is producing documentary “Vaquita — Sea of Ghosts,” a follow up to their Oscar-shortlisted documentary “The Ivory Game,” which was backed by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way. Appian Way is reported to be in discussions to board the new project.
The new film, which is helmed by “The Ivory Game” director Richard Ladkani, follows the attempts to save the endangered vaquita porpoise, whose numbers have been devastated by illegal fishing in the Gulf of California. Fewer than 30 of these porpoises remain as they are often caught in the nets of rogue fishermen hunting the totoaba, whose swim bladder sells for more than $100,000 a piece in China.
The film starts with a meeting between Leonardo DiCaprio and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto last year, and then follows the sometimes violent conflict between the Mexican drug cartels and Chinese crime gangs on the one side, and the Mexican government, the U.S. Navy, the FBI, Sea Shepherd and other wildlife activist groups, on the other.
“Vaquita — Sea of Ghosts,” a working title, will be completed this year, and will have its international premiere at the beginning of next year.
“The Ivory Game,” which investigated the illegal ivory trade, was placed on the Academy Awards shortlist in 2016, among 15 Oscar contenders.
Terra Mater is led by CEO Walter Koehler, whose senior team includes head of specialist factual Sabine Holzer. Its other projects include three-part documentary series “Mission to the Moon,” which follows the first private mission to land on the Moon.