Discovery Channel premieres Huntwatch – the story behind Canada’s controversial seal slaughter

Discovery Channel premieres Huntwatch – the story behind Canada’s controversial
Wednesday, 17 August, 2016
Yarmouth Port, MA

Discovery Channel acquired worldwide television rights to the feature documentary Huntwatch narrated by actor Ryan Reynolds and produced by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The film, which follows the 50 year history of Canada’s commercial harp seal hunt, will air in the U.S. on Thursday, September 22 at 10 p.m. ET, immediately following a limited theatrical release by Discovery and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), and will debut worldwide later this year. Lionsgate will also distribute the film on home entertainment worldwide.

Huntwatch falls under the Discovery Impact banner as part of a series of trailblazing documentaries, including other important non-fiction films like Racing Extinction and Sonic Sea, which look at humanity’s impact on the environment and what we can do to solve related global problems.

“Like most people, I thought the horrendous practice of clubbing seals for fur ended a long time ago,” said John Hoffman EVP Documentaries and Specials, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel. “By documenting these inhumane acts IFAW has created a valuable visual weapon to expose them. Discovery’s goal is to sound the alarm worldwide that this is still happening and ignite change.”

IFAW was founded in 1969 to stop this hunt and has been campaigning for nearly five decades to bring it to an end. One of the primary strategies had been to capture images to show the world the cruelty that was happening on the remote ice floes of Atlantic Canada. Huntwatch and Discovery will now bring the issue back into living rooms around the world, prompting the question, “Should this still be happening?”

“We are delighted that Discovery is bringing Huntwatch to the world,” said IFAW President and CEO, Azzedine Downes. “Discovery’s commitment and courage to present the film is inspiring and we hope that the massive global Discovery audience will join us to help relegate the commercial seal hunt to where it belongs—in history books. We couldn’t have a better partner for our film.”

The commercial seal hunt is in decline. Last year, 35,000 seals were killed, compared to an average of 350,000 in previous years, but federal subsidies within Canada keep it alive. IFAW is calling on the new government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to support alternative industries instead of supporting commercial sealing on Canada’s East Coast.

The deal was negotiated by Kevin Iwashina and Zac Bright of Preferred Content on behalf of International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Huntwatch is directed by Brant Backlund; editors, Brant Backlund and David Kennedy; producers, Kerry Branon, Richard Moos, Brant Backlund, David Kennedy; executive producers, Azzedine Downes, Erica Martin, Shawna Moos; narrator, Ryan Reynolds; writer, Brant Backlund; director of photography, Richard Moos.  For Discovery Channel:  supervising producer, Ryan Harrington; executive producer, John Hoffman.

About International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook/IFAW and Twitter @action4ifaw. Photos are available at www.ifawimages.com

About Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel is dedicated to creating the highest quality non-fiction content that informs and entertains its consumers about the world in all its wonder, diversity and amazement. The network, which is distributed to 100.8 million U.S. homes, can be seen in 210 countries and territories, offering a signature mix of compelling, high-end production values and vivid cinematography across genres including, science and technology, exploration, adventure, history and in-depth, behind-the-scenes glimpses at the people, places and organizations that shape and share our world. For more information, please visit www.discovery.com.

About Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) satisfies curiosity and engages superfans with a portfolio of premium nonfiction, sports and kids programming brands. Reaching 3 billion cumulative viewers across pay-TV and free-to-air platforms in more than 220 countries and territories, Discovery’s portfolio includes the global brands Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports content across Europe. Discovery reaches audiences across screens through digital-first programming from Discovery VR, Seeker and SourceFed Studios, as well as over-the-top and TV Everywhere offerings including Eurosport Player, Dplay, Discovery K!ds Play and Discovery GO. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.

About Lionsgate

Lionsgate is a premier next generation global content leader with a diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, international distribution and sales, branded channel platforms, interactive ventures and games, and location-based entertainment.  The Company has nearly 80 television shows on 40 different networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses. These include the ground-breaking hit series Orange is the New Black, the fan favorite series Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show, the hit drama series The Royals, the Golden Globe-nominated dramedy Casual and the breakout success Greenleaf.

The Company's feature film business spans eight labels and includes the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, the Now You See Me, Divergent and John Wick series, Sicario, Nerve, The Age of Adaline, Roadside Attractions' Love & Mercy and Mr. Holmes, Codeblack Films' Addicted and breakout concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Pantelion Films' Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.

Lionsgate's home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rates.  Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as a foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world. www.lionsgate.com

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Experts

Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
Regional Director, North America
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime