Studio B Films recently received an urgent call from WildAid, a Bay Area-based nonprofit aiming to end illegal wildlife trade through public service announcements and awareness campaigns. Their high-profile spokesman and NBA superstar Yao Ming had agreed to be featured in yet another PSA on behalf of the sharks and WildAid asked Studio B to produce it. We were thrilled to be a part of such an exciting production and for such a great cause.
Each year millions of sharks are hunted for their fins to satisfy an expensive culinary trend in Chinese culture, sharkfin soup. Ming’s fame is stratospheric throughout Asia and he has used his celebrity to support the ban on shark finning and to highlight the cruelty of this unnecessary practice. Ming, who stands at just around 7’7” (towering over David, our 6 ft director and DP in the photo below), joined the Studio B crew and over 50 kids on San Francisco’s picturesque Pier 7. The kids, who we managed to pull from various San Francisco schools (including the Chinese American International School), were directed to run and charge a thoughtful looking Ming at the end of the pier as he contemplates our children’s future oceans.
Nature herself gave us a helping hand on shoot day with the clearest blue sky and warmest weather of the year. A slew of documentary crews piggybacked on our production, taking the opportunity to talk to Ming about ocean conservation and to grab some candid footage of the basketball star on set.
The PSA is now in post, undergoing a serious amount of special affects work - we won’t tell you what happens, you’ll just have to look out for the surprise when it airs. In the meantime, have a look at some of the fun production stills our in-house PA’s shot on location.
It’s not often we get to work on something so fun and rewarding. PSA’s are a great way for us to combine our love of documentary, story-telling and social commentary with our talent for commercial production. Thanks WildAid. Thanks Yao. And most importantly, thank you to the many kids and patient teachers who made it all possible.