Discovery-owned Animal Planet has acquired worldwide television rights to Lesley Chilcott’s feature-length documentary Watson from Participant and Terra Mater Factual Studios.
The 99-minute film, which held its world premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, paints an intimate portrait of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Captain Paul Watson (pictured) and his team’s tireless efforts to protect the Earth’s oceans and the marine life thriving beneath the surface.
Produced by Invented by Girls Production, the film blends one-on-one interviews with Captain Watson and crew, underwater nature footage and archival video of the Sea Shepherd’s dangerous encounters with seal hunters in Canada, whaling vessels in Europe and shark finners in Central America.
Animal Planet has previously followed Captain Watson and the Sea Shepherd’s adventures in the Emmy Award-nominated docuseries Whale Wars (2008-2015).
The feature-length Watson will open in select U.S. theaters this fall and is to host its television debut on Animal Planet later this year.
The deal was negotiated by Josh Braun of Submarine on behalf of Participant and Terra Mater Factual Studios, as well as Participant’s Danice Woodley, SVP of business and legal affairs for Participant, and Krista Wegener, EVP of sales and distribution.
The film is produced by Chilcott, Louise Runge and Wolfgang Knöpfler, with Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Elise Pearlstein, Walter Köhler and Dinah Czezik-Müller serving as executive producers. The production is overseen by Erin Wanner, SVP of production, for Animal Planet.
“Watson is a captivating experience from Lesley Chilcott, an incredibly committed filmmaker and environmentalist,” said Diane Weyermann, chief content officer for Participant, in a statement. “The film delivers a unique look at the larger-than-life character of Captain Paul Watson, whose life and mission gives new dimensions to what it means to be an activist.”
“Watson begins and ends with the heroic and fierce commitment of Captain Paul Watson, a man who I have long admired and whose deeds to better the Earth affect us all. I am excited to partner with Animal Planet, which given their connection to Paul and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is the very best home for this film in helping educate and inspire audiences to join them in the fight to save our oceans,” Chilcott added.