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Vancouver Film Festival 2012 Interview – REVOLUTION director Rob Stewart

by Jason Whyte

“REVOLUTION is a call to action. I set out to make a hard-hitting documentary because I knew if more people knew what I’d seen we could change the world. In order to unlock and understand the issues behind climate change I take viewers on an adventure through 15 countries, over s four years span. It’s no longer just about sharks; it’s about saving ourselves." Director Rob Stewart on REVOLUTION which screens at this year's Vancouver International Film Festival.

Is this your first film in the Vancouver International Film Festival? Do you plan to attend Vancouver for the screenings?

This is my first time at the Vancouver International Film Festival. I’m really excited to see how the Vancouver audience reacts to REVOLUTION. I will be doing a Q&A at both the October 6th screening at 6:15 and the October 7th screening at 12:45.

Could you give me a little look into your background and what led you to the desire to want to make film?

I’ve always loved the ocean and the creatures that inhabit it. In university I studied Marine Biology and after that I became an underwater photographer. During these expeditions I discovered that the shark population was being decimated because of the demand for their fins. Making a movie was the best way to show what was happening to sharks and get the message out to a large audience. It worked! More then 100 countries and territories have banned shark finning and shark fin products since the release of SHARKWATER and that number continues to grow.

How did this project come together?

REVOLUTION started when I was at the Hong Kong premiere of SHARKWATER. A young woman asked me, “What was the point in saving sharks if the UN predicts all fish will be gone by 2048?” This question floored me; I didn’t have an answer for her. Her question really put everything in perspective, if we’re going to save sharks we’ve got to save ourselves first.

What was the biggest challenge in the making of this movie?

The biggest challenge in making Revolution was the budget. I thought funding would be easy based on the success of SHARKWATER. Originally it was easy; we had a five million dollar budget from investors. As soon as the investors sensed that the movie could be controversial they pulled the funding. The budget dropped from five million to $120,000 almost over night. I had to re-group and re-organize. I ended up making this movie by setting off across the world, with just my camera. In the end it became clear it was the only way to properly make REVOLUTION.

Who would you say your biggest inspirations are? Any inspirations for this film in particular?

The ocean is my biggest inspiration; it’s the one place in the world that I truly feel relaxed and at home. It was the biggest inspiration for REVOLUTION. Ocean acidification, which is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, is causing the ocean and the animals that live in it to die. I knew that I had to do something big to save the thing I love.

How important do you think the critical/media response is to film these days, be it a large production, independent film or festival title?

I think critical/media response is really important for the types of films I make and want to make in the future. The more people that see the film increase the possibilities of change. My goal is to make as many films as possible and make sure that as many people as possible see my films. There are so many environmental issues that deserve attention; I’d love to be able to make films that give these issues the attention they deserve.

If your film could play in any movie theatre or "space" in the world, which one would you choose?

I would love to see Revolution screened outdoors in a park. It would be amazing to watch Revolution in the open air, where people are enjoying the environment that we are trying to save. I think that would really put things in perspective for everyone.

No doubt there are a lot of aspiring filmmakers at film festivals who are out there curious about making a film of their own. Do you have any advice that you could provide for those looking to get a start, and especially for those with films in the festival circuit?

It may sound cliché, but don’t give up. There are a lot of obstacles filmmakers hit when making a film and getting it seen. You have to believe that your message is stronger and more important then the obstacles you face. The message in Revolution is something that everyone needs to know about. Our over consumption has left the planet in a horrible state, people need to know this because once they know they can make a change. We need to start a revolution and save ourselves!

How can people keep in touch with the film at this point in the festival circuit?

We have an official website and you can also reach me on my Facebook movie or personal page.

This is one of the official selections in this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival lineup. For more information on films screening at this year’s fest, showtimes, updates and other general info, point your browser to

Be sure to follow instant happenings of VIFF ’12 on my Twitter account @jasonwhyte, including mini-reviews of films, comments on festival action and even a Tweetphoto or two. #viff12 is the official hashtag.

Jason Whyte,

link directly to this feature at
originally posted: 10/05/12 02:31:35
last updated: 10/05/12 02:35:09
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