Not many public figures have done as much for sharks as the late Canadian filmmaker Rob Stewart, who dedicated his life to helping save the misunderstood aquatic beasts.
His latest and last film, Sharkwater Extinction, is a cinematic eulogy of Stewart, who stood up to governments and politicians, confronting them about their outdated and often cruel shark-fishing and “finning” practices. He was involved in the movie’s production right up until his passing in January of last year.
The movie switches gears entirely after Stewart’s death: the first half continues the work started up in his first and second documentaries, 2006’s Sharkwater and 2012’s Revolution, and after his devastating drowning, it turns into a tribute to the man. Just like the original docs, Sharkwater Extinction is harrowing and frustrating. Once again, we see how millions of sharks are needlessly killed each year for their fins, and how often any action against the practice is futile. Stewart was one of the rare few who managed to make an impact.
Global News spoke with Brock Cahill, a very close friend of Stewart’s and founder of SeaChange Agency, about making the movie and what’s being done to continue Stewart’s legacy.
Global News: For those unaware, what’s your relationship to Rob and this movie?
Brock Cahill: For Extinction, we developed strategies, thought processes and figured out together where we wanted to go with the film. I was his right-hand man, and Robbie always called me “our ninja,” so… [Laughs]
What sorts of challenges did you face? After Rob’s passing, it must’ve been hard to finish up the movie.
Oh man, was it ever. The weight, from an emotional standpoint, [was a huge challenge]. Having to forge forward without my buddy was f**king tragic. Without his creative mindset and leadership, it became much more challenging to figure out strategies. But somehow, with his folks and everybody else on the team, we’re here with the film.