Playing With Sharks

Australia, Feature Documentary, 2021, 90 min

Premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

As a young woman in Australia in the 1950s, Valerie Taylor bucked the status quo, becoming a champion spear fisherman in a sport dominated by men. She soon traded in her spear for a camera, documenting the undersea world as never before. With husband Ron behind the camera and Valerie’s willingness to get up close and personal with all manner of marine creatures, the team quickly gained attention as world-class, pioneering underwater filmmakers. The first to film a great white underwater, their shark sequences ultimately became the inspiration for a new novel and soon-to-be blockbuster hit Jaws with Valerie and Ron brought on to shoot all the underwater live shark scenes. The rest is history, as the movie solidified sharks as underwater monsters to be feared and hunted. Valerie would spend the rest of her life working to set the record straight.

Directed by Sally Aitken

Colorado Premiere

A Call2Action selection

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Venues: The Boulder Theater; Grace Commons Church, 1820 15th Street; Boulder High; Cinemark Century Boulder, 1700 29th St.; eTown Hall; Longmont Museum’s Stewart Auditorium