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John Hopkins’ film nominated at Raindance festival

orth Lake commercial and charter fisherman Ross Keus—winner of the Premier’s Tuna Cup for largest bluefin caught in PEI in 2016 at 1082 lbs (photo: Courtesy of NFB)PEI Filmmaker John Hopkins’ NFB feature documentary Bluefin is continuing its run on the international festival circuit. Most recently the film has been nominated for Best Feature Documentary Award at Raindance, the UK’s largest independent festival (September 20 to October 1), and will screen at the festival. Raindance received a total of 7,500 submissions in all categories this year.

With a US premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, an Asian premiere in Busan, South Korea, and winning both the Wildlife Award at the San Francisco International Ocean Festival and Best Atlantic Filmmaker at Lunenburg DocFest, Hopkins says he’s “ecstatic” about how well his NFB produced film is doing. “It’s having a broad and emotional impact with international audiences,” he says.

“Using a mystery story structure,” Hopkins explains “my doc merges a truly Old Man and the Sea worthy tale profiling  passionate tuna fishermen characters, with some of the planet’s best minds in science and ocean ecology. We bring together opposing views to explore the reasons for the abundance of normally wary giant bluefin tuna which oddly no longer fear humans and are being vulnerably hand-fed by fishermen in open ocean. This recent unusual behaviour by tuna off PEI also allowed us unprecedented cinemagraphic opportunities. While the film builds a new empathy for these highly depleted and beleaguered creatures, I also look at how humans are socialized to only consider bluefin as ‘food,’ and not wildlife on par with whales and elephants.”

Hopkins signed with US distributor Gravitas Ventures at Hot Docs this spring in Toronto. Following Bluefin’s festival run in January, Gravitas will launch Bluefin on a hundred digital platforms, including Netflix worldwide.

Upcoming festivals and screenings for Bluefin include Friday Harbour (Washington State), and the New York City Wildlife Festival. 

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