Rob Stewart is an award-winning biologist, photographer, conservationist and filmmaker. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Stewart began photographing underwater when he was 13. By the age of 18 he became a scuba instructor and then moved on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, studying in Ontario, Jamaica and Kenya. Before making Sharkwater (2007), Stewart spent four years travelling the world as chief photographer for the Canadian Wildlife Federation's magazines. Leading expeditions to the most remote areas of the world, Stewart has logged thousands of hours underwater using the latest in camera and rebreather technologies. Stewart's highly sought after images have appeared in nearly every media form worldwide. While on assignment to photograph sharks in the Galapagos Islands, Stewart discovered illegal longlining, indiscriminately killing sharks within the marine reserve. He tried promoting awareness through print media, but when the public didn't respond, Stewart decided to make a film to bring people closer to sharks. At the age of 22 he left his career behind and embarked on a remarkable journey over four years and 12 countries, resulting in the epic Sharkwater. When Stewart boarded Sea Shepherd's ship, Sharkwater took a turn from a beautiful underwater film into an incredible human drama filled with corruption, espionage, attempted murder charges and mafia rings, forcing Stewart and his crew to become part of the story. During filming, Stewart encountered life threatening obstacles, including diseases such as West Nile, Tuberculosis, Dengue Fever and flesh eating disease. Sharkwater has been hugely successful, premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival and winning a "Canada's Top Ten" award. Sharkwater made history with the largest opening weekend of any Canadian documentary, and was the most award-winning documentary of the year, winning over 35 awards at prestigious film festivals around the world. As of 2012 it is the third highest grossing Canadian documentary in the last ten years, next to the high budget films, Nascar and Oceans. Stewart's hardcover book, Sharkwater: An Odyssey to Save the Planet, was released in October 2007 by Key Porter Books. His book Save the Humans will be released in the Fall of 2012 by Random House. Stewart continues to work towards conservation and environmental education, speaking at the University of Victoria, Yale University, Vancouver Aquarium, ROM, various TEDx events, and others. Stewart is on the board of numerous conservation groups including WildAid, Shark Savers and the Shark Research Institute, and recently founded his own charity, United Conservationists, based in Los Angeles and Toronto. He has made featured appearances on numerous high profile TV shows including Larry King Live, The Today Show, Tonight Show, The Late Show, Nightline, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, ET Canada, Bloomberg, The Hour, BBC1, MTV and others. In a 2011 The Grid Magazine survey, he was voted top living resident for making Toronto a better place. Stewart has just completed his second film, Revolution, a groundbreaking documentary that has already received both critical and audience acclaim at film festivals, winning Audience Award for Best Doc at the Atlantic Film Fest; Most Popular Environmental Film Award at the Vancouver Intl Film Fest; and was a runner up People's Choice Award Documentary and the most popular Canadian film at its premiere at the Toronto Intl. Film Fest. Revolution will release in theaters in the Spring of 2013, with a companion rich digital media component.
A lifelong entrepreneur, Julie has channeled over 14 years of experience in advertising and media into a new mission – saving the planet. Having built an agency with upwards of 40 employees and $7 million in yearly revenue in a few years time, she brings a unique perspective and deep experience to conservation causes. She has developed innovative media, marketing and interactive strategies for clients like Porsche, Citibank, AOL and Volkswagen, and now, applies that expertise to the business of saving the creatures and ecosystems that desperately need her help. Since a career change four years ago, Julie has created two thriving non-profits, Shark Savers and Shark Angels, and has consulted to many other NGOs, including Sea Shepherd, PEW, and WildAid, greatly improving their media, technology, marketing and outreach strategies. She is also a passionate and talented filmmaker, creating conservation content in the form of compelling films with a purpose and engaging social / interactive media.
A multi-faceted creative force, Tristan’s innovative thinking has brought his focus to assembling a collective of individuals and organizations that brings about a change in consciousness and solutions to global issues through the uniting of media, emerging technology and conservation. In using the power of combining creativity and activism one becomes what Tristan calls a “creactivist” -- someone who uses conservation arts and sciences to raise awareness and facilitate creative problem solving for positive change. Born in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Tristan grew up traveling the globe making nature documentaries, mentored by his father - wildlife filmmaker, Wolfgang Bayer and has spent much of his life observing nature in the far corners of the world. Tristan is an award winning filmmaker, and was nominated for an Emmy in Cinematography for the ten-part one-hour wildlife adventure series on Animal Planet where he was creator, host and director of photography. His work has aired in the US and internationally on Discovery, Animal Planet, Planet Green, National Geographic, BBC, FOX and TBS as a TV host, producer, writer, director, cinematographer, and editor.
Emily Hunter is an eco-warrior of a new generation. Over the past eight years, she has campaigned on global environmental issues, while attempting to ignite youth in a new kind of eco-revolution. She uses media and films as her tools for change, as she co-hosted IMPACT, a TV-documentary series on MTV News Canada, and author of the book The Next Eco-Warriors. No stranger to action, she has battled on the high seas of Antarctica to save whales with Sea Shepherd; coordinated climate “work party” events across Canada, as part of the350.org global day of action, and joined protests in the Borneo rainforest trying to end deforestation. Currently, she works as the Campaign Director with United Conservationists, combining her media and activism background to help kick-start the Revolution campaign.
David Hannan is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer based on North Stradbroke Island, in Queensland, Australia. Hannan built and owns one of the largest independent marine footage libraries in the world, amassing hundreds of hours of spectacular, high-definition sequences whose cinematography is featured in some of the world’s most successful natural history projects including “The Blue Planet,” National Geographic’s “The Shape of Life,” and “Great Migrations,” David Suzuki's “The Nature of Things,” his own programs including “Coral Sea Dreaming”. As the co-founder and director of the Ocean Ark Alliance (OAA), a high-profile collective of scientists, filmmakers, and artists who are focused on both regional and global marine conservation initiatives and projects, he has teamed up with United Conservationists to bring a maximum exposure and awareness to the wonder, beauty and plight of our oceans.
Paul is a world-class creative strategist and talented filmmaker, capable of not only envisioning but producing cutting-edge media efforts across any channel – on screen, on paper, and online. A classical artist turned digital savant, Paul utilizes cinematography, animation, graphic design, and photography as his canvas. With over 13 years of filmmaking, production, and new media, he has a wealth of experience from which to draw upon – for any type of media campaign. After earning a degree in advertising, Paul spent the first 8 years of his professional career designing and developing best-of-breed new media projects. With an incredible eye and a love for the medium, Paul honed his cinematography skills, developing skills in shooting, editing, production and animation - delivering commercial media for companies that include British Airways, Sony Music, and Nedbank. Unfulfilled, Paul left commercial productions behind in 2005 to start Lkwid, a production studio in Malaysia and recently, Built By Wildman, a fully integrated, new media studio in South Africa and in the United States. Paul leverages his commercial filmmaking background and interactive design capabilities to deliver boundary-less new media campaigns – for non-profits. In addition, his filming efforts have also been featured globally in several broadcast productions, including Animal Planet, Discovery, and National Geographic.
Dustin is the founder of rGenta, a Digital Marketing organization with a foundation in facilitating the growth and development of communities online. rGenta has been an outlet for Dustin to express his passion for technology, connecting with others, and helping amazing people and organizations accomplish inspiring things (such as working with Rob Stewart and Sharkwater since 2009). Outside of the office, Dustin is intricately involved in downhill and water skiing communities across the Canada – previously as a coach and ski pro, and currently as a Director for Water Ski Wakeboard Ontario. His favorite places in the world? Backcountry British Columbia and Morrison Lake, Muskoka, Ontario.
Jenni Leslie brings to United Conservationists her experience and strong background in marketing and business to further her passion of making the world a better place for future generations. Born in Durban, South Africa, Jenni grew up next to the Indian Ocean and learned to appreciate the beauty of nature and all it has to offer. One of her passions is Scuba Diving and she is a certified Dive Master and Rescue Diver. In addition to her extensive experience diving in South African waters, she has traveled to diving destinations all over the world including Mauritius, the Comoros and Maldives Islands, Mexico, Mozambique and Cuba. She knows and appreciates the value and privilege of being part of the underwater world, even if only for a while. Jenni has assisted with the training of many student divers, including a platoon of Her Majesty’s Guards through their Open Water certification,and relishes the memories of helping them to discover the hidden world that lies beneath the ocean’s surface. Jenni moved to Canada in 1999 with her husband, and after a successful career took time off to start a family. She is the mother of twins who are growing up to respect nature and who, like their mom, have a strong desire to protect and treasure their environment. In the summer you will likely find Jenni camping and canoeing with her family at one of the many Provincial Parks in Ontario..