MADISON — The vaquita is at risk of becoming extinct. There are about 12 of these small porpoises alive today off the coast of Mexico.
“Unfortunately, we’re having a really hard time saving it because they are off the coast of Mexico and it’s a very complicated with illegal fishing going on and they get caught in the net,” explained filmmaker Matthew Brady.
This is just one example of an animal in our world that is in of danger of vanishing and highlighted in “Escape from Extinction,” a documentary to be released on Friday, Oct. 16, directed and produced by Brady, a 1995 graduate of Daniel Hand High School in Madison.
The film will open in 120 cities nationwide for one week. Locally, it will be shown at Mystic’s Luxury Cinema, West Hartford’s Cinepolis in West Hartford and Providence’s Avon Cinema.
Following the public showings, Brady will partner with a global streaming service to offer the film to a wide audience.
Brady has been working on the film for two years and is passionate about the message.
“Saving animals from extinction and in general, the global problem with the environment and animals and habitats and plants,” said Brady.
Dame Helen Mirren, award winning actress, narrates the film.
“We really wanted a narrator with a global voice that could share the messaging in a great way,” said Brady.
“We are in the middle of what’s called the sixth mass extinction and there have been only five other mass extinctions,” said Brady. “The one, of course, everyone knows is the dinosaurs, and now we’re on number six and 1 million of the 8 million species on the planet on the verge of extinction.”
Brady’s film focuses on the work of zoos and aquariums working to save animals worldwide. The proceeds benefit American Humane.
While Brady said that he grew up visiting zoos and aquariums as a youngster on the Shoreline, he never really understood what work these institutions were doing behind the scenes. This is what his film explores, with clips from the Roger Williams Park Zoo and Mystic Aquarium.
He noted that often staffers at these places often spend little time at the facilities that house the animals, if they are not involved in the daily care of them.
“I met with people and interviewed people that only go to the zoo four times a year,” he said. “They’re on staff and the rest of the time they’re in the field saving animals.”
Dr. Robin Ganzert, CEO of American Humane, worked directly with Brady on the film.
“One million species will be wiped off the face of our earth in our lifetime and in our children’s lifetime because of all of the horrible things mankind has done to the earth,” she said.
Her organization, founded in 1877, works to ensure the safety, welfare and well-being of animals.
“There’s already good work that’s being done to stop species from extinction, but there needs to be so much more and that’s why we made this film,” Ganzert said. “To educate, to share, to talk about conservation in meaningful terms and also to let everyone know how you can make a difference by visiting a zoo or aquarium in your own backyard.”
For more information regarding showtimes contact the individual theaters. Mystic Luxury Cinema, 27 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, 860-536-4227; mysticluxurycinemas.com; Cinépolis West Hartford, 42 South Main St., West Hartford, 860-523-4600; cinepolisusa.com/locations/west-Hartford; Providence Avon Theater, 260 Thayer St., Providence, RI; 401-421-0020; avoncinema.com