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Sundance: National Geographic Nabs Leonardo DiCaprio-Produced Documentary ‘Sea of Shadows’

National Geographic Documentary Films has secured worldwide rights to the environmental documentary “Sea of Shadows,” executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Directed by Richard Ladkani (“The Ivory Game”), the documentary premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award for world cinema documentary.

“Sea of Shadows” highlights efforts to save the endangered vaquita whale in the Sea of Cortez, where the native totoaba fish are being poached because of a superstitious belief among some in China that their bladders possess miraculous healing powers. The non-fiction film follows a team of scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative journalists, undercover agents and the Mexican Navy to save the last remaining vaquita and bring the crime syndicate to justice.

“What is happening in Mexico is yet another example of human-caused devastation due to the greed of a few,” Ladkani said in a statement. “My hope is that this film can raise awareness and help save this precious ecosystem. I could not ask for a better partner in that goal than National Geographic.”

“Sea of Shadows” is produced by Terra Mater Factual Studios, DiCaprio and Appian Way, Malaika Pictures, and Wild Lens Collective. Walter Köhler and Wolfgang Knöpfler of Terra Mater Factual served as producers. In addition to DiCaprio, “Sea of Shadows” was executive produced by Jennifer Davisson, Phillip Watson, Dinah Czezik-Müller, Michael Frenschkowski, Rebecca Cammisa, and Laura Nix.

“Both of us have the aim to make ‘Sea of Shadows’ a huge success, but beyond that, we are united in the conviction that we have to save this precious little animal, the vaquita, and that we have to stop the destruction of the entire Sea of Cortez — which Jacques Cousteau once called the ‘aquarium of the planet,'” Köhler said.

Submarine repped the filmmakers in the deal.

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