Newspaper article The Canadian Press

"Warrior for This Planet": Friends Remember Toronto Filmmaker Who Died on Dive

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

"Warrior for This Planet": Friends Remember Toronto Filmmaker Who Died on Dive

Article excerpt

Toronto filmmaker remembered for activism

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A Toronto filmmaker who was found dead days after he went missing while diving off the coast of Florida is remembered by his sister as a community-builder who brought about global change.

Rob Stewart's body was found in the Florida Keys Friday, 90 metres from where he disappeared during a dive on earlier in the week. His remains were found after an extensive search, for which nearly $200,000 was raised.

"He had so much passion for what he was doing, and that passion brought people in," said his sister, Alexandra Stewart.

The 37-year-old was best known for his 2006 documentary "Sharkwater," about the rapidly declining shark population at the hands of illegal and recreational fishing, climate change and pollution.

Stewart was in Florida filming a follow-up to the documentary, called "Sharkwater: Extinction," his sister said.

"Sharkwater" prompted people around the world to lobby their governments for bans on shark finning, the removal of the fins while tossing the rest of the carcass in the ocean.

Alexandra Stewart said her brother had an extraordinary way of working -- with passion and commitment -- and also an extraordinary lifestyle.

"My dad always called him a global citizen," she said. "Whenever I picked up the phone to call him, I'd have no idea where he'd answer from. A boat off the coast of a small island, or L.A. for a movie premiere or even driving up North -- even though he hated the cold."

She said her family is trying to figure out a way to best honour his legacy.

"We're very committed to making sure his mission is carried out," she said.

In a video posted to Facebook, Tyler MacLeod, who was listed as an associate producer on Revolution, another of Stewart's films, said the director was an inspiration.

"Rob literally never flinched. He never changed. He's always been a warrior for this planet and a warrior for what's right," MacLeod said in a video posted to Facebook after Stewart's body was found. "At least in my mind, he's a massive hero."

Stewart had been diving with friends on Tuesday when he was last seen. …

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