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Animal advocacy documentary Sharkwater Extinction premiered in Canada this week – despite the fact that filmmaker Rob Stewart died during production.
After the unfortunate loss, which was reportedly the result of a diving accident, Stewart’s family carried on his legacy by finishing his work.
Sharkwater Extinction was Stewart’s second film – a sequel to his 2006 documentary Sharkwater, during which he also had an accident which nearly cost him his life.
Both of Stewart’s documentaries call attention to the plight of sharks, with a particular focus on the animals slaughtered en masse as part of the illegal shark finning industry.
The documentarian also makes a point of challenging the vilification of sharks that occurs in the media and modern society.
In the trailer for his first film, Stewart said: “You’re under water and you see the thing you were taught your whole life to fear, and it doesn’t want to hurt you, and it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.
“And your whole world changes.”
Stewart’s parents, Sandy and Brian, said they needed to guess their son’s computer password – ‘gratitude’ – in order to access his files and execute his vision for the film.
Given the loss of their son, they said the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival was ‘bittersweet’.
Stewart’s mother Sandy added: “No one was like Rob. He was pretty unique. And his film style, his philosophy on the world was, you know, be a champion.
“I think the world has lost one.”