Having previously acquired the U.S. and international rights to the film following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Discovery Channel will broadcast the doc on December 2 at 9 p.m. EST/PST across its 220 international markets within a 24-hour time period commencing in New Zealand and concluding in the U.S.
The film follows The Cove filmmaker and his team from the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) as they covertly navigate some of the world’s most dangerous black markets to expose the endangered species trade while documenting the link between carbon emissions and species extinction.
The spy thriller was shot in multiple locations around the world, including China and Indonesia, to spotlight endangered species trafficking. The filmmaker and his group of artists and activists go undercover in a Los Angeles restaurant serving whale meat and pose as shark fin oil buyers in a Chinese market.
In partnership with Discovery and OPS, Vulcan Productions – owned by co-executive producer and Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen – will launch a long-term action campaign aimed at curbing carbon emissions, ocean acidification and consumer demand for endangered species. Viewers will be urged to engage via the Twitter hashtag #StartWith1Thing, which will coincide with the film’s broadcast.
The documentary’s website will also feature an interactive “challenge” tool to help families, groups and individuals reduce their own carbon footprints.
“Racing Extinction is the perfect Discovery Channel television event as it combines Discovery’s iconic blue chip nature programming and something very important to us: the opportunity to make a significant global impact,” said Rich Ross, president of Discovery Channel, in a statement.
“With the help of Discovery I believe we can create a tipping point to create the change we need to preserve a planet that can sustain life for all species,” said director Louie Psihoyos. “There has never been a more important time in the world than to be alive now — the decisions we make in the next few years will impact the Earth and animal species for millions of years.”
With files from Kevin Ritchie