29 JUN 2020


The title is a Terra Mater Factual Studios production and it was nominated to a Peabody Awards. Previously, “Sea of Shadows” received the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was named “Best Theatrical Film” at the Jackson Wild Media Awards.


“Sea of Shadows”


The compelling feature documentary “Sea of Shadows”, from Terra Mater Factual Studios production, continues its international success. The title was nominated to a Peabody Awards for outstanding storytelling. The nomination is the latest in a long line of successes for the feature documentary released by National Geographic Documentary Films, which held its world premiere in January 2019. Among others, “Sea of Shadows” received the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was named “Best Theatrical Film” at the Jackson Wild Media Awards.

“Sea of Shadows” is a Terra Mater Factual Studios production, in association with Appian Way, Malaika Pictures, and The Wild Lens Collective. Filmed on location in Mexico and China, the feature documentary received funding from the Austrian Film Institute and Film Industry Support Austria.

Walter Köhler, CEO of Terra Mater Factual Studios, said: “The Peabody Award is the Pulitzer Prize for filmmakers. Of course, we are over the moon about the most recent nomination for our film 'Sea of Shadows'. It’s very special for an Austrian production company to be granted such an honor and thanks are due to our good partnership with the National Geographic Society. Above all, however, this nomination serves a larger purpose: saving the world’s smallest whale from extinction at the last minute and compelling the Mexican government to enter the fight against the unholy alliance between the drug cartels and the Chinese mafia. Especially in these times of the coronavirus pandemic, the world must not forget that isn’t just our own survival that matters.”


With all the suspense of a Hollywood thriller, “Sea of Shadows” exposes the unfolding environmental catastrophe in the Sea of Cortez. The poaching of rare totoaba fish (the so-called “cocaine of the sea”) on behalf of Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers has endangered the entire marine ecosystem and led to the almost total extinction of the vaquita, the world’s smallest whale. Directed by Richard Ladkani, “Sea of Shadows” is a work of fearless cinematic reporting that follows scientists, conservationists, investigative journalists, and undercover agents as they engage in a deadly battle to save the vaquita.

Employing a holistic approach to audience engagement, “Sea of Shadows” has had an enormous impact on the worldwide protection of endangered species. The strategy included grassroots community engagement with local fishermen, a special screening in the Mexican senate and at the United Nations, and awareness-raising campaigns with conservationist Jane Goodall. The film has reached audiences in 172 countries and 42 languages. Its nomination for a Peabody Award underscores the far-reaching impact of a film that has made the once relatively unknown vaquita the focus of an unprecedented international conservation effort.