About the project /Community
With this new documentary project, we want to tell you an incredible conservation story presented by actress Adriana Ugarte: the story of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus).
With this new documentary during COVID, we want to use a scientific format, but guided by a professional actress who manages to capture the attention of the largest number of viewers. Thus, the weight of environmental disclosure will be greater and will not lose a bit of scientific accuracy.
A story real and never before seen account of the monk seal. It was common on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, but three decades ago it became extinct. Hunting, overfishing and urbanization of the coastline were the main causes of the disappearance of the Iberian seals.
Today, although we do not have seals, Spain is very involved in the conservation of two of the last surviving colonies: Madeira, in the Portuguese Atlantic, and Cabo Blanco, on the coast of Mauritania.
Each of these two colonies are special, the seals in Madeira are called "sea lions", and were on the brink of extinction, but thanks to the conservation projects, there’s a positive future for this small, isolated colony in the middle of the Atlantic. On the other hand, the Mauritanian colony of Cabo Blanco, the largest in the world, went unnoticed by Europeans until recently. Its particular geographical location makes it very vulnerable, due to the unstable geopolitical situation of the area, disease, falls and storms.
Both colonies hide brutal conservation stories that deserve to be told, and Adriana Ugarte will help us, presenting the documentary, with scientific accuracy, realism and with us in the field. She will interview scientists who study seals, technicians who fight for their recovery and protection, and local fishermen who share the sea and fish with these seals.
The documentary will take place in Madeira (objective 1) and if we succeed (objective 2) also in Mauritania. Our goal is to give visibility to the conservation of a forgotten species and to all the people who fight and want its recovery on the Spanish coasts.
Here you come in
Your help for this is essential, since only with the support of people interested in the dissemination of nature conservation, we can film with the necessary equipment in these remote and difficult-to-access colonies.
Like the previous three, it is a collaborative project, in which many people and entities have donated material, time and work to talk about conservation with this new format: environmental disclosure with scientific accuracy in the hands of communication professionals.
Every effort goes further if you work as a team, so collaboration will continue to be our brand.
Only with your help we will get to tell this fascinating true story of conservation with Adriana Ugarte. We want to convey to society the importance of conserving our coasts and seas in particular, and of nature in general.
In the last year, in the midst of the pandemic, we have had the opportunity to interview and have a first contact with an important part of the professionals who work in the conservation of the monk seal. But due to the COVID circumstances they have limited mainly to online interviews.
Our goal is to complete the project by traveling to the colonies to film in situ, people, habitat and seals. A technical and geographical challenge that we can only achieve with your help.
The ultimate goal of the documentary, if we get crowdfunding, is to improve social perception of a possible future scenario: the return of the monk seal to Spanish waters.
About the rewards
There will be surprises for all patrons. In addition, the t-shirts and sculptures will be finished professionally designed, ensuring a modern design with a "vintage" touch.
All the rewards will be sent with the fall of the leaf, in autumn you will have your reward without exceptions and wherever you are (all of Europe). In addition, 25% of all contributions will go to the NGO INNOCEANA that works for the conservation of the seas around the world.
"Más que Pájaros" we are a Biology and Ecotourism company based in the León´s mountains (Lugueros, León). We believe that conservation awareness is key to avoiding having to go to museums to see wonders like the monk seal in the future.
"INNOCEANA" we are an NGO for the conservation of the seas. We work through international cooperation in Spain, Costa Rica, Thailand and the United States.
The promoters of "Foca Monje: A Path of Return" are:
• Adriana Ugarte: actress and student of Philosophy. She believes in environmental dissemination as an engine for the conservation of the Planet, and is happy to collaborate with small projects financed through crowdfunding.
• Manuel A. González: Doctor in Biology, specialized in the conservation of threatened fauna and director of Más que Pájaros. He has directed three other documentaries on threatened fauna: “The Secret of the Forest: Memories of the Cantabrian Grouse”, “Brown Bear: Following the Footprints of the Wild” and “Valle de Lobos”, all of them financed through crowdfunding and available on YouTube.
• Benito Fuertes: A wildlife biologist, he has been behind him for more than 30 years behind all kinds of fauna around the world and has been involved in several projects for the conservation of endangered species. This time he has changed the boots for fins to go out to sea.
• Francisco R. Sabugo: graduate in audiovisual communication and director of the AV DEVELOPS production company (https://www.avdevelops.com). In this small production company, we have a weakness for videos, aware of everything that a good video can convey.
• Carlos Mallo: engineer, professional diver and founder of INNOCEANA. He does not conceive of life with his feet on the ground, and that is why he spends his time diving underwater. When someone doubts about where to go on vacation, Carlos always answers: -Diving is the cheapest trip to another planet, I can take you, I'll leave it there… -
• Alejandro Álvarez: technical engineer, guitarist, professional cameraman and filmmaker. Heterodox like few others, Álex has been a key piece in previous documentaries and without his filmmaking skills, it would be impossible to tackle this madness ...
• Beatriz Blanco-Fontao: PhD in Biology and environmental scientist, she has specialized in scripting wildlife documentaries in Danger of extinction. Her texts and scripts will adorn SEAL MONJE: A WAY OF RETURN.
• Carlos R. Villafañe: PhD in biology and producer of nature documentaries. He has filmed hundreds of hours of wild, aquatic and terrestrial fauna, and has obtained real and spectacular images of free fauna in their natural environment (http://www.bichoproducciones.es/bicho/).
What will we allocate your contributions to?
With this crowdfunding campaign (objective 1) we will film in the Desertas Islands (Madeira, Portugal), as an example of good work in the conservation of the monk seal. We will interview local fishermen, technicians and biologists who have managed to ensure that this colony not only does not disappear, but that it gradually recovers.
If the project likes and we achieve objective 2, we will do the same in Cabo Blanco (Mauritania) where the habitat, local culture and landscape differ radically from Madeira. There, in a territory mined by a war, survives, against all that was thought, the only great colony of monk seals in the Mediterranean. The work of the Spanish CBD-Habitat Foundation is crucial there.
Your contribution will be used to cover the following expenses:
• On-site filming phases.
• Making, editing and post-production of the documentary.
• Expenses for this campaign: teaser, gifts for patrons, taxes, bank commissions and crowdfunding expenses.
• Contribution to the INNOCEANA NGO of 25% of the money obtained. So that it continues with its actions to conserve the sea around the world through science, technology and environmental dissemination.
Your contribution will revert to the conservation of the monk seal, improving the social perception of the species.
The patronage campaign will end at the beginning of May 2021. Immediately, at the end of the same month, we will go to work in Madeira for 5 days. If we also achieve objective 2, at the beginning of June we would travel to Mauritania to obtain as much material as possible in another five days (interviews, habitat and seals). Editing and realization will begin in July, with the purpose of finishing full production and editing during the summer.
The delivery of rewards will begin to take place in October 2021, so in autumn you will have your gift when the leaf falls.
At the end of 2021, in order to disseminate the documentary as much as possible, we will place it on national and foreign televisions to awaken interest in conservation in most of society, from nature lovers, even those people who until now were not interested in her. Our pull to achieve it will be the famous and young actress Adriana Ugarte. In this way, all the patrons will be collaborating through scientific dissemination guided by communication professionals, with the conservation of the monk seal in particular and the seas in general, which is, after all, the conservation of our Planet, that of ourselves ...