Caption: Katie Pofahl & Mark Shelley, San Francisco, CA 5/5/12, Credit: Andrea Chase
Image by: Andrea Chase 
Katie Pofahl & Mark Shelley, San Francisco, CA 5/5/12 

OTTER 501 -- Mark Shelley and Katie Pofahl interview

From: Andrea Chase
Series: Behind the Scenes
Length: 18:25

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Executive Producer/Director of Photography Mark Shelley and star Katie Pofahl talk otters, kelp forests, and doing the right thing. Read the full description.

Otter501folksprxkmr_small I spoke to Mark Shelley and Katie Pofahl on May 5, 2012 at the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39 in San Francisco, right after their film had been screened for an audience of kids already disposed to appreciate a story about aquatic life. Though OTTER 501 is aimed at kids, it does not make the fatal mistake of talking down to them. Rather this self-described hybrid of fact and fiction makes the story of one otter pup's survival both engaging, informative, and hugey entertaining. By focusing on a young woman (played by Pofahl), who discovers the orphaned pup and then becomes invovled in his rescue and rehabilitation, the film is rich source of information about the ecology of the Pacific Coast, and the unexpected niche that otters play in it.  

Our conversation covered how Pofahl, a fresh-water biologist had been cast for a film about a salt-water creature, how becoming an "otter spotter" is open to almost anyone who wants to volunteer, and why otters are more than just one of the most adorable creatures on the planet, not to mention the delicacy needed to cast a zaftig swimmer needed to make a point about how hard it is for otters to find enough food.  Exuberant and passionate about the film and the environment, their energy and committment was a palpable element of the interview, as it is of their lives. 

 

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Piece Description

I spoke to Mark Shelley and Katie Pofahl on May 5, 2012 at the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39 in San Francisco, right after their film had been screened for an audience of kids already disposed to appreciate a story about aquatic life. Though OTTER 501 is aimed at kids, it does not make the fatal mistake of talking down to them. Rather this self-described hybrid of fact and fiction makes the story of one otter pup's survival both engaging, informative, and hugey entertaining. By focusing on a young woman (played by Pofahl), who discovers the orphaned pup and then becomes invovled in his rescue and rehabilitation, the film is rich source of information about the ecology of the Pacific Coast, and the unexpected niche that otters play in it.  

Our conversation covered how Pofahl, a fresh-water biologist had been cast for a film about a salt-water creature, how becoming an "otter spotter" is open to almost anyone who wants to volunteer, and why otters are more than just one of the most adorable creatures on the planet, not to mention the delicacy needed to cast a zaftig swimmer needed to make a point about how hard it is for otters to find enough food.  Exuberant and passionate about the film and the environment, their energy and committment was a palpable element of the interview, as it is of their lives. 

 

Intro and Outro

INTRO:

Andrea Chase takes you Behind the Scenes of OTTER 501 with Katie Pofahl and Mark Shelley. OTTER 501 is the story of an orphaned otter pup and the young woman who helps rescue him and, in the process, discovers a new life for them both. The eponymous otter is the actual 501st pup rescued by SORAC, the Sea Otter Research and Conservation project at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The story woven around him is that of Katie, a Midwestern biologist who finds him stranded and, curious about his progress, becomes a SORAC volunteer. Through her the audience discovers the vital role that otters play in the ecosystem of the Pacific Coast, and how, though they have recovered from near-extinction due to the fur trade, they are far from having a secure future. The film makes extensive and clever use of social media to tell the story, sites that exist in real life as well as reel life. Pofahl stars as Katie and this is her first film. Shelley is the Executive Producer and Director of Photography of the film. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Sea Studios Foundation, a company whose mission is to use cinema to bring ecological issues to a broad audience.

OUTRO:

Andrea Chase has taken you Behind the Scenes of OTTER 501 with Executive Produder/Director of Photography Mark Shelley and star Katie Pofahl.

Related Website

http://www.otter501.com