This week we dive into the world of documentary filmmaking with renowned photographer and documentary film director Louie Psihoyos. Louie is perhaps best known for his 2009 film, the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove, which shed a brutal light on the remarkably cruel dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan. In our conversation, Louie shares how movies can help change the world and why he’s passionate about telling stories that impact animals, human health, and the environment. He also tells us about his current projects, including a film about Gunung Leuser, a National Forest in Indonesia known to be the last place wild animals such as tigers, elephants, rhinos, and orangutans coexist and where local activists are trying to shut down illegal palm oil plantations.
*We are thrilled to expand the accessibility of our podcast by offering written transcripts of the interviews! Click here to read Mariann’s interview with Louis Psihoyos*
Louie Psihoyos, Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), is recognized as one of the top photographers in the world. He was hired directly out of college to shoot for National Geographic and created images for the yellow-bordered magazine for 18 years. His ability to bring humanity and wit to complicated science stories carries over to his filmmaking. An ardent diver and dive photographer, he feels compelled to show the world the decline of our planet’s crucial resource, the oceans. Psihoyos’ first documentary film, The Cove, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film of 2009 and over 75 other awards worldwide. The film garnered immense critical praise and has been seen by millions of viewers worldwide. His second film, Racing Extinction, premiered on Discovery in 220 countries and territories on the same day, was nominated for an Emmy and an Academy Award, and sparked the #StartWith1Thing movement. Louie finished directing The Game Changers in 2019, executive produced by James Cameron. In the first 30 days the documentary was on Netflix, Google searches for “plant-based diet” went up 350% worldwide. Psihoyos most recently finished directing Mission: Joy in 2021, which explores the friendship and wisdom of two of our generation’s greatest spiritual leaders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“You change the world with stories.” – Louie Psihoyos
Highlights for Episode 697:
- How Louie felt when his very first documentary film, The Cove, won an Academy Award
- Why Louie firmly believes that movies can help change the world
- The importance of cutting through the noise of the outside world with one’s own message
- The power of stories and their impact on people
- How Louie’s depiction of animals helps viewers form genuine connections with them
- Why it can be challenging to capture the authentic stories of conservationists and scientists
- How we can create lasting social change
- Why Louie is focusing on telling stories about environmental issues that also impact human health, particularly the impact of microplastics
- How Louie decides just how much he’s willing to show his audience and how he protects them from simply shutting down from horror
- Because Animals Sells Off “Discontinued” Products To Former Co-Founder To Accelerate Cultivated Pet Food Technology
- An Evening With Peter Singer Live On Stage
- FakeMeats.com coupon code HENHOUSE23 for 15% off Plant Basics products
Connect with Louie Psihoyos:
- Oceanic Preservation Society
- Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS)
- The Cove on Facebook
- Racing Extinction on Facebook
- Oceanic Preservation Society on Twitter
- Oceanic Preservation Society on Instagram
- Racing Extinction on Instagram
- Oceanic Preservation Society on YouTube
- Oceanic Preservation Society on Vimeo
Connect with Our Hen House:
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This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at awfw.org.