The reality of how something like Jaws would actually play out is the focus of After the Bite. The HBO documentary tells the story of a 2018 fatal shark attack on a boogie boarder in the town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts that rocked visitors and residents in the idyllic summer community of Cape Cod, forcing them to respond to the encroachment of apex predators.
Since the Great White shark was made a protected species in the mid-1990s, following its becoming critically endangered, the number of sharks has increased every year. The shark’s favorite prey, the North Atlantic gray seal, has also seen a population rebound since seals were protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. After The Bite explores the far-reaching repercussions for this beach community when rapid changes in the natural world begin to clash with a cherished way of life.
Check out the After The Bite trailer below:
The documentary will premiere on HBO and Max on Wednesday, July 26. After The Bite is directed and produced by Ivy Meeropol, who previously helmed HBO’s The Story of Roy Cohn. According to the blurb:
“Great white sharks have dominated headlines in recent years, as their deadly interactions with people have increased in the waters stretching from Maine to the Cape and Islands. Those charged with protecting the public have been forced to address the risk of serious injuries with stop-the-bleed kits mounted at public access beaches, warning billboards, the use of shark-tracking apps, spotter planes, and new training programs and protocols for lifeguards.
After The Bite is a deep dive into how one coastal community is renegotiating their relationship with our rapidly changing environment. The changes are numerous, including warmer waters and species interacting where they never had before. This is a portrait of an interconnected community of people and wildlife, it features a range of voices from different sides of these issues and considers the larger question of how far humans can push nature before it bites back.”
It will feature input from the lifeguards, conservationists, fishermen, journalists, paramedics, town residents, activists, and scientists who are impacted by the issues and are working to find solutions, including seal scientist Lisa Sette from the Center of Costal Studies; Dr. Greg Skomal and Meg Winton of the Atlantic White Shark Conservatory, which tags and tracks sharks off the coast of Cape Cod and estimates that 800 individual white sharks were in the waters off Cape Cod from 2015-2018; New Yorker writer Alec Wilkinson; and Crocker Snow, a long-time island owner whose uninhabited island in Nantucket Sound is the largest breeding ground for seals in the western North Atlantic.
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