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Dolphin Dance

I loved working on this film! …and my kids loved it too. Beautiful imagery, a lovely concept, and working with the wonderful Chisa Hidaka made every moment a pleasure.
I was Editor, Colorist, and music designer, mixing existing tracks, for this film.
I have a personal interest in human-animal communication and was thrilled to meet Chisa and have the pleasure of spending my time soaking up the aquatic ballet, compelling interactions, and mesmerizing imagery of this underwater art-dance-science poem.  Color correct was tricky though, as small consumer cameras were used, resulting in highly compressed movies with a limited color space – the light spectrum underwater proved difficult for these cameras, and color channels were wacked way out of balance.  Apple Color helped to achieve a final color grade that looks rather nice, I think, especially comparing to the uncorrected. When I proposed the vibe and style I was considering to Chisa, she luckily concurred, and encouraged me to pursue the more abstract poetic structure, and in the final cut, a subtle narrative of discovery, interaction, and play unfolds – all within the domain of body language. Biologists have found that dolphins use body language as the primary communication tool when close together, and vocalize more the farther apart they swim. The speed and complexity of dolphin “conversations” is startling and hard to fathom – truly humbling. Humans too communicate with body language, much more than we tend to acknowledge, and research has shown that we use a kind of echolocation for recognizing objects around us, somewhat like bats do with sonar. I have collected other compelling human-animal communication tales, and hope to develop a long form doc about this important connection we have with the natural world. The deep connection many people have for animals is a useful and potent vehicle by which we can recall and reignite our role in the natural world, as a part of it, connected to it, and interdependent. As research techniques evolve, the evidence repeatedly disrupts our notions of animal intelligence, sophistication, and emotions, and we are less and less insistent that humans are the unique in the domain of higher intelligence. The more we look, the more we find. I applaud Chisa’s efforts to explore these connections and commonality in such a lovely and personal way, while highlighting the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and diversity of species, which have been massively compromised by the human footprint.  One example of human organized destruction can be seen in The Cove, a movie that exposed horrendous abuse and mass killing of dolphins in Japan. The Cove is a must see – and despite uncovering such a depressing reality, the film making and story telling is stellar, and an exciting adventure too, full of high stakes covert filmic and technological innovation. Rather than depress, it ignites the soul, and rightfully won the Oscar for Best Feature Doc in 2009. I met a few of the team while at Sundance with FUEL – they are great guys.

I am reminded of the classic Douglas Adams line “so long, and thanks for all the fish”, from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Chisa’s work, along with The Cove, present very compelling arguments to avoid Sea World and other aquatic entertainment bonanzas, which create demand for these deplorable practices, enticing Japanese fishermen to trap huge numbers of dolphins to choose from. The buyers pay 200K for a single dolphin, and the rest are killed, turning the clandestine cove red. Not one of the finer moments for the humans… thankfully these film projects shine a light on this disgrace, and reveal what special creatures dolphins are. It does put the ball in our court – each of us. Now that we know, we have a  chance to make it right. So…..

This video was created as a pilot project to explore options for a larger film, and to begin fundraising and team-building for that endeavor.
The project is on its way now, and details of the process including video clips and photos are on Chisa’s blog.

Chisa is an MD, working in the area of orthopedics research, and dancer, dedicated to improvisation.
The Dolphin Dance Project is committed to bringing public awareness to the need to protect dolphins and their habitats, in Japan and the rest of the world.

From the Dolphin-Dance website:
“Wild dolphins are incredibly precious! They are rare – maybe unique – in being creatures who are truly wild and yet who are willing to reach across the species divide to approach humans voluntarily, out of their own curiosity and interest to interact. What happens if we respond to this invitation by offering ourselves as their equal? The possibilities for paradigm-shifting experiences are profound. We are given the opportunity to experience ourselves not as the dominant species destined to rule the world, but a creature who shares likeness and equality with another species on the planet. Wouldn’t such an experience radically change our assumptions about how to treat the Earth, her creatures and her resources? Meeting a wild dolphin eye to eye, it’s hard not to want to be more like her – more wild and more a part of the natural world”
    - Chisa Hidaka

Please support this project by visiting the website, and contribute $2.50 to the Dolphin Dance Project and download an SD copy, or purchase a DVD and HD file for a $50 contribution.



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