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"The Heist" Is An Environmental Documentary That Promises Action

Oceanic Preservation Society, Louie Psihoyos' non-profit organization that was responsible for producing Academy Award-Winner The Cove is making a new film, and it looks pretty damn exciting. If you've never seen The Cove, I'm guessing that a) you...

by Daniel Stuckey
Sep 4 2012, 4:40pm

Oceanic Preservation Society, Louie Psihoyos’ non-profit organization responsible for producing Academy Award-winner The Cove, is making a new film, and it looks pretty damn exciting. If you’ve never seen The Cove, I’m guessing that a) you “aren’t the documentary type,” b) you’ve never browsed through the Instant Watch titles on Netflix, c) you’ve been meaning to watch it, or d) you hate dolphins.

However, if you have seen The Cove, and it moved you in any way, then bring a diaper with you to see The Heist because you might wet yourself. Yes, that sounds insane, but that’s the level of hype Psihoyos and company are pushing for their follow-up. Perhaps the hype won’t be for naught: On Monday, OPS launched a Kickstarter to raise the final 50 grand needed to pull off the film’s epic money shot.

Focused on an ever-shrinking list of endangered species, The Heist seeks to raise the bar above and beyond Psihoyos’ debut doc, which he refers to in his Kickstarter pitch as a “warm-up.” If you forgot, The Cove is a crucial anti-whaling documentary starring Ric O’Barry, a fictional dolphin-trainer-turned-guerrilla-dolphin-lover that produced tangible results (a 50% decrease in Taiji’s annual dolphin slaughter and no more mercury in Japan’s school cafeterias, to name two examples) and inspired formidable environmental advocacy groups to take action. While the movie trailer for The Heist is brewing huge anticipation levels, its focus remains mysterious. What kind of guerrilla advocacy stunt is going to take place — and what about it costs $50K?

Considering that most Kickstarter projects provide samples of work that the funded project is capable of realizing and producing, Psihoyos hasn’t left us completely in the dark. Mystery is definitely part of OPS’ pitch. As eagle-eye views of Manhattan appear, a camera mounted to an off-road Segway rolls around a parking lot, large projections cover the Sydney opera house, and Psihoyos pans his camera at a landing airplane, who knows what kind of worm is on his brain? A statement from the team’s Kickstarter reads thusly:

The team that infiltrated The Cove is back—with some new faces—to hatch a plan even bigger and bolder than the last. We’re bringing the sights and sounds of species on the brink of extinction to the front of the world stage, in an event that will forever change what it means to take action for the planet. Departing from the confines of a traditional documentary, the film will capture the drastic measures necessary for initiating cultural change while inspiring millions of viewers to join our mission.

Since The Cove’s release in 2009, some dolphin populations have rebounded, in some instances due to extreme weather, and in others that owe to actions like the OPS’ in Taiji. Will The Heist do the same, and perhaps suggest we revert towards an antique version of our planet in which cohabiting with nature worked better? I hope not; that all seems too neutral and little-provoking to me. I mean, Planet Earth in all of its HD glory probably never garnered a whole lot of action beside getting people to buy box sets and then feud over Weaver’s narration versus Attenborough’s narration, and I hope that The Heist isn’t also so easily dismissed as simply being beautiful. At the same time, I trust that the same provocative Cove crew choosing to title their next film The Heist suggests that some kind of crazy shit is about to go down.