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Paul Watson in Durban

Paul Watson at Durban International Film Festival
Time Magazine called him one of the 20 environmental heroes of the 20th century.  The Guardian mentioned him as one of 50 people who could save the planet. These are some of the numerous accolades bestowed on Paul Watson which also include honorary citizenships, environmental, animal rights and human rights awards.He has also been denied visas, banned in certain places, and arrested on numerous occasions for his provocative activism. Often vilified as a vigilante of the high seas, he has been called arrogant, and a terrorist. One thing for sure, Paul Watson is fiercely committed to the cause of defending animal rights and ocean life in particular. Author of five books and the subject of a number of films, Watson will be a special guest at the 32nd Durban International Film Festival, which is principally supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.. Screenings of the film Eco-Pirate: the Story of Paul Watson take place on 23 and 30 July  at Ster Kinekor Musgrave.
Watson was a founder member of Greenpeace, then formed the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society after being ousted from the Greenpeace board in 1977, essentially for being too radical. The film traces Watson’s early career as a frontline activist in Greenpeace and his subsequent more militant approach with the Sea Shepherd Society. Critiquing the failure of governments to enforce maritime laws that they created and agreed to, Watson says “ somebody has to do it!”.  Speaking broadly about ocean life he states bluntly: “If the oceans die, humanity dies”. His confrontational tactics have earned notoriety, particularly the tactic of ramming whalers. We travel with his fleet as they confront Japanese whalers, clash with vociferous sealers and fishermen, taking on both poachers and various authorities. Watson has an astute understanding of how news stories impact public opinion and the film shows his adept optimization of key media opportunities.  With excellent access to Watson over a number of years, and first hand experience aboard his ships, film director Trish Dolman’s documentary chronicles the extraordinary life one of the most controversial figures in the environmental movement – the heroics, the ego, the urgency – of the world’s original eco pirate. If any film can be definitive about such an enigmatic personality as Paul Watson, this one gets mighty close.
  Watson will also make a public presentation at 3pm at Royal Hotel on 23rd July.

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