Sea of Shadows


A 30-member species of porpoise, the vaquitas of the Sea of Cortez teeter on the precipice of extinction. Unwilling to accept this creature’s disappearance from the ecosystem, a dynamic cohort of experts (including an investigative reporter, marine biologists, and members of the nonprofit organization Sea Shepherd) embark on individual but equally thrilling ventures to rescue the vaquitas from this fate. The waters muddy as undercover operatives reveal that vaquita deaths are mere casualties in the vicious hunt for the bladder of the marine fish totoaba, which is sold for six figures on the Chinese black market. Urgent and unflinching, Sea of Shadows unearths a covert economic exchange between Mexican and Chinese traders that threatens both the animals and the vitality of the fishing industry. A suspenseful score and hushed testimony from disguised truth tellers compound the sense of the irreversible danger that humans face if the vaquitas vanish. With vigor, courage, and heart, the film is a staunch example of the power of individual effort against greed and corruption.  KR

Filmmaker Q&A following screening


Richard Ladkani


Walter Köhler, Wolfgang Knöpfler


Georg Fischer, Verena Schönauer


Richard Ladkani

Release Year


Festival Year




Run Time

105 minutes


Partially subtitled