At the Edge of the World Q&A w/Dan Stone

I used to live in Melbourne, Australia, not Florida. One day the Sea Shepherd docked on our shores and I got to meet some of the people on board, including former Greenpeace activist, Captain Paul Watson. People in Melb were so inspired by the Direct Action Whale Rescue that the Sea Shepherd crew engaged in. A benefit party was organized, t-shirts were bought and one of my friends even decided to join them on their next mission.

Roll forward to last night in NYC, I saw Dan Stone’s film about one of their Antarctic missions, At the Edge of The World as part of IFC‘s Stranger Than Fiction documentary series. I was struck during the Q&A by the apparently contentious relationship that Stone has with Watson and the Sea Shepherd crew. He told us that many of them did not like the final cut. This is a curiosity that I will have to explore further; I intend to interview him and will update this tangent later.

As for last night, I can say that the film was rocky and oceanic, after the dubious Q&A, I ran into an old old NYC activist friend and cracked into some Belgian Beer and lively debate at Vol de Nuit (def on the GOOD list). Obama and Pallin, Stone and Watson, Preservation and Indigenous hunting ceremony, Old gays vs. New Queers, all the relevant rivalries were discussed!

4 Responses to “At the Edge of the World Q&A w/Dan Stone”

  1. after the Toronto premiere, Paul Watson told my brother: “I loved it”. Paul is a very smart guy and he believes that a fair representation of Sea Shepherd will accrue to his organization’s benefit (others prefer hagiography). I have great respect for David Mamet, who wrote that he’d never seen an audience which collectively wasn’t smarter than him. Or as Sy Syms used to say: ‘an educated consumer is our best customer’. best, dan

  2. thebrooklynsocialite Says:

    Hey Dan,

    Thank you for your comments! I am truly excited to be held accountable for my observations on At the Edge of the World, which of course are purely that. I am also glad to hear that Watson loved the film. My activist friends liked it and so did I. Part of our argument was their contention that beyond a portrait, your film awesomely captured the nature of life at sea, while I wanted to further understand the people’s complexities. I agree with your statement that the film can not be a puffy propaganda piece for Sea Shepherd, still since I respect many of the crew on a personal level, I would have like to hear more of their back stories. Your brother gave me your card, let’s continue this as an interview! Also feel free to comment further.

  3. Hi, the question of how much backstory to provide has been a difficult one all along, including the backstory of this particular campaign (Alex had to sneak the Farley Mowat out of Cape Town Harbor, the Robert Hunter had to be sailed across the Atlantic and through a hurricane and then had to sneak out of Punta Arenas, the helicopter blades had to be replaced, etc). Regarding the crew, their backstories are compelling (one of the folks against whom the Japanese authorities have issued an arrest warrant is an ER physician) but we wanted, first and foremost, to present this documentary as a narrative which would appeal to those who knew nothing of this issue, and the tradeoff with pacing is more difficult than it might seem at first. We certainly will be providing crew-member backstories on the web site when it’s launched and in the DVD when it’s released. Regardless, the backstory which is most important is that of the viewer, since this is an adventure which anyone might say: ‘at a different time in my life or in a parallel life, i would be part of something like this’ — the themes of David-vs-Goliath and empowerment are universal.

  4. thebrooklynsocialite Says:

    Hi Dan, thanks for your second comment. I think that is a fascinating thing about Narrative Documentary making…Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, the filmmakers behind Trouble the Water also spoke about the specific aims and limitations inherent in this genre, when I interviewed them earlier this week. That film tells a story from within the storm, figuratively, literally and emotionally. Would you liken At the Edge of the World to their film? How do the two differ? I look forward to seeing the DVD extras!

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