A reminder that a free screening of the documentary "Island of the Great White Shark," by RTSea Productions, will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the MLK auditorium of the Santa Monica Public Library. Filmmaker Richard Theiss, executive producer and cinematographer for the project, will be in attendance and will conduct a question-and-answer session after the film, as well as discuss his experiences filming great whites and other sharks. The screening of this 45-minute film is part of an ongoing lecture series sponsored by Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.
Theiss, who four years ago joined an eco-tourism charter to Mexico's Guadalupe Island and the surrounding waters to observe the great whites, became passionate about this subject and began documenting the work of shark researcher Mauricio Hoyos Padilla. The resulting film from this trip details the important role great white sharks play in a balanced ecosystem and also focuses on the marine scientists dedicated to studying and protecting these sharks.
"These are absolutely magnificent creatures living on a razor's edge of possible extinction. And there are some very dedicated people working tirelessly to prevent that," Theiss said. "This is a story that needed to be told."
Millions of sharks, including great whites, are killed each year for their fins, as accidental catches on commercial fishing vessels and for souvenir jaws and teeth.
Admission to the screening is free on a first-come, first-served basis. The main library is at 601 Santa Monica Blvd., with a pay parking structure available on 7th Street, north of Santa Monica Boulevard. For directions to the library, visit www.smpl.org/depts/branches/index.htm. For other information, visit www.healthebay.org/smpa or call the aquarium at (310) 393-6149.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Great white shark off the coast of Guadalupe Island. Credit: Sharkdiver.com