The Edge : a digital production
In 2015 The Edge was showcased in Keen’s International Ocean Film Tour. This year the film will show this Sunday Nov 5, 2017 in Montreal.
Jackson Hole WILD, a company “dedicated to promoting public awareness and stewardship of wildlife” will be hosting a wildlife conservation film festival in which The Edge will be one of 15 films to be screened.
The film has gained global attention, shown on the International Film Tour in the United States and 10 countries in Europe including: Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
With influence of award winning cinematographer Joe Romeiro, Steer Films’ Creative Producer and Director Carlos Toro and Director of Photography Ryan Sherwood, a digital film production was created, showcasing the natural beauty of one of the ocean’s largest ocean predators, sharks.
The Edge places focus on the misconception of sharks and the fear inducing way in which they are portrayed in mainstream culture/ cinema. Providing the viewer with this new perspective, the film aims to promote the evolution of public opinion.
“[Sharks] have paid a huge price since the movie Jaws because of people’s irrational fear of them,” says Romeiro. “In the same breath [though], they have grown to be one of the most iconic animals on Earth.”
Steer Films, a providence, R.I. based Film Company, took on Romeiro’s project because of its appeal as a unexplored area with an important story to tell. The company, headed by Toro, specializes in digital production of short films, pairing aesthetic footage with client stories.
Toro and Romeiro recently sat down with Warren Miller Entertainment for a Q&A to dive deeper into the making of The Edge:
WME: What was each of your roles in the making of “The Edge”?
Carlos Toro / Steer Films: As Director of this short, my aim was to communicate the importance of Joe's work as a wildlife cinematographer. I was hoping he would also see this piece and become inspired by his own work, if that makes sense. I think it's very often the case that we can get used to the work that we do and we can lose sight of how important, unique or critical it can be in the wider context. Sometimes you need to have someone objective view your work and remind you of what you've been able to accomplish or that what you are working towards is worth the effort. Our team at Steer Films is drawn to powerful stories that we think would make an impact on a wide range of viewers regardless of cultural distinction, economic class or other factors that typically divide us.
Joe Romeiro’s passion and body of work inspired us to create this film around finding beauty in a subject, sharks, that most people would immediately write-off. Joe's cinematography made this much easier to accomplish since he has an incredible library of rare nighttime footage of some of the most impressive sharks on the planet.
Take us through the making of “The Edge,” what goes into capturing the deep ocean footage of sharks and various other marine life at night?
CT: We are both Rhode Islanders and I came to know about Joe's work through the local dive community. I lead a team of digital media creatives in Providence, Rhode Island and we are always on the hunt for interesting stories and I had received a good lead that there was a great one unexpectedly close by. I met Joe and after hearing him speak about his journey as a wildlife cinematographer, I asked if we could create a film about the work that he does.
Putting The Edge together required myself, and our Director of Photography at Steer, Ryan Sherwood, to head out on a few expeditions with Joe about 40 miles off the coast of Rhode Island to come face to face with Blue sharks. We stayed with Joe late into the night, eventually giving us the opportunity to film him corralling and being the ringmaster of no less than eight blue sharks at once.
The expedition itself, with Pelagic Expeditions, provided our team with a whole new view of Rhode Island and the rich diversity of life that was present just 20-30 miles off the coast.
In addition to the Blue Shark footage that Joe captured that night on our RI expedition, Joe also provided footage from his shark dives around the globe. He's been on the forefront of providing a rare glimpse into the lives of sharks for many years and this was an opportunity for us to showcase his work.
Joe, how did you become so interested in sharks?
It began as a childhood obsession for me. I was obsessed with JAWS and the movie that depicted them. Even though sharks were thought of as the "villains" In movies back then, it still fascinated me. Soon I was watching all kinds of real natural wildlife history that featured sharks.
Studying these legends of the shark wildlife world really inspired me to pursue this passion. People like Jacques Cousteau and Ron and Valerie Taylor, pushed me to want to live that lifestyle of mystery, danger and a real sense of true adventure.
Now that I’m here, I really see how tough it really is on the sharks and us. They have paid a huge price since the movie jaws because of people's irrational fear of them but in the same breath, they have grown to be one of the most Iconic animals on earth.
What can people do to help in halting the mass extinction of sharks?
Usually most people have no Idea that 3 sharks die at the hand of man every second, totaling up to 100 million sharks killed every year, just by us. Really, It's about education and the coming together of the science community, locally and at the international level. We all depend on the ocean and not one person has a claim on it over another. Furthermore, I would not consume shark. Shark meat is basically a poisonous toxic material that has proved to be linked to cause all kinds of sickness, from dementia to impotence. It's not a great idea to eat Apex animals that eat other small animals that ingest the constant pollution poured into our oceans.
People have no idea where all their waste ends up. All of the chemically treated lawns and rampant pesticide use makes it's way into the ocean and therefore into our day to day lives. It all will eventually come back to us. There are plenty of ways to help but the small steps are the first. Nowadays there are many different organizations like the Atlantic white shark conservancy, Oceana And WildAid that you can donate and volunteer in some cases.
If someone is exceedingly afraid of sharks, what is something you would say to them to ease their mind and change their perception of these creatures?
We are definitely not a natural food source for sharks and they are not actively "hunting us", as most think. Out of the 5 species that are known to possibly pose a risk to man most people encounter the ones that are not a risk and are harmless.
We are not in their food chain and lots of people have lived years side by side with sharks without a problem. Know your surroundings and you will be more safe at anything you do. You have more of a chance of jellyfish hurting you than a shark.
Despite our fears, the actual risk of being attacked and killed by a shark is miniscule. Consider that you have more of a chance of lightning striking you or you hitting the lottery than ever to be harmed by a shark, much less killed by one.
Mosquitos and bees kill thousands of people every year, while shark attacks claim 8-9 lives on average, a year. All in all, you have more of a risk to be bitten by another human than a shark.
What are some projects that Steer and 333 Productions are currently working on?
CT/Steer Films: 333 productions and Steer Digital Media have teamed up to produce more work in the Marine media field, under the 333 Digital Media banner. 333 Digital combines the major network production experience of 333 productions with Steer Digital Media's capabilities for short form narrative films, virtual reality, web development and creative development within other emerging technologies.
We believe that today's challenges around conservation messaging require all the latest tools available and this coming year you will see us collectively produce more work in different mediums with much more intensity. We are currently designing a shark exhibit for a museum that features a virtual reality experience of a an amazing night time dive with tiger sharks. The exhibit is designed to increase awareness of the benefits of eco-tourism and guide visitors through the excitement of diving with these amazing creatures.
JR/333 Productions: 333 Productions is known for our network presence. We have completed many projects the last few years for the major networks: You can see our imprint during Shark Week on the Discovery channel, BBC, National Geographic magazine and television. Even made it on Oprah, recently, with a special version of The Edge.
I'm really excited about our new VR projects and they are coming along very nicely and we have an amazingly talented team working on it.
-Warren Miller Entertainment
What makes Steer Films so special is their mentality of delving into digital production projects that they can provide a visual telling of the story, to try and help bring it into the public’s eye. Their work with Romeiro, The Edge that showcased in the International Ocean Film Tour, is a great example of their individualized talent to capture footage that can help bring issues such as shark conservation into the public sphere in an aesthetically pleasing way.
“We Just dove into it [The Edge], we had never worked with sharks before so it was an exploration,” says Toro. “Exploring the world through a lens opens up so many unique opportunities such as the International Ocean Film Tour, it’s why we do it.”