Oceans Conservation

Hollywood producer Raul Julia-Levy's current project involves an impressive cast ranging from Johnny Depp, Lindsay Lohan, and Harrison Ford to Elton John, 50 Cent, and Plácido Domingo. He's attracted high-powered producers including Cameron Crowe, Ed Elbert, and Ron Howard. It's a veritable A-list role call, and he's still recruiting.

But the brightest star in Julia-Levy's lineup -- and no doubt the biggest, at 7,000 pounds -- is Lolita, a 40-year-old killer whale living in a 20-foot-deep tank at the Miami Seaquarium. Taken from her family while still a juvenile, Lolita has been performing for sunburnt tourists twice a day over the last 37 years. The tank she lives in is just four times her size at its widest; she'd have to circle it more than 600 times to travel the same distance her still-wild family members might in an average day. Her only companion -- another killer whale from her pod, or family group -- died 20-some years ago after repeatedly bashing his own head against the enclosure walls. In her native Pacific Northwest waters, whales like Lolita have lifespans similar to humans; in a tank, that life expectancy is cut in half.

"The conditions that she lives in are barbaric," Julia-Levy shouts to me over the phone, unable to contain his anger. He decided to get involved in the campaign to free Lolita last year, when he learned that it was in need of star power. But as spokesperson for the glittery troops he's amassed, Julia-Levy -- the son of actor Raul Julia -- emphasizes that he and the other Lolita-loving producers and celebrities are involved as regular citizens, not activists. "We are people who have consciences," he says, "and everyone in this campaign from Hollywood has a mind of their own, and we believe that what we're doing is the right thing simply because animals should live in their normal habitat."

Julia-Levy's passion for this campaign was evident just a few moments into our conversation -- and his fervor shows no signs of waning. When asked what's next, he hinted at a plan "involving a 'big stick,'" but said he couldn't elaborate just yet. No doubt when he does, he'll have plenty of star power behind him.

How did you first hear about Lolita and get involved in the campaign?

I knew about Lolita for a long time, but it was probably about a year ago when I really got involved with the campaign. I was actually a little depressed because my little dog had just died -- he was 9 years old. It was a very tough time for me, and I was looking at pictures of my dog on the internet and then I came across ... [a video] of Lolita and the conditions of where she lives. And I got even more depressed. Then I did a little bit of research on the situation and I contacted the Keiko Foundation, which is [under the umbrella of] the Earth Island Institute. They're the ones that have the vast experience relocating animals to their natural habitat -- like Keiko [the star of Free Willy] and Springer.

Who all is on board so far?

The latest one to join the campaign is Elton John. We have some of the most powerful producers on board: Jonathan Sanger, Ed Elbert, Richard Donner (who was behind the Keiko campaign and was extremely instrumental in the release of Keiko), David Permut, Steve Longi. We have a wide range of celebrities, too, including Johnny Depp, 50 Cent, [Hayden Panettiere, Lindsay Lohan, Plácido Domingo, Janet Jackson, Ringo Starr], Harrison Ford ... the list is pretty extensive. We really just want to send the right message. We want people to educate themselves and to learn and know that it is not possible for an animal of that magnitude, that large, that in her normal habitat is used to traveling long distances -- at least 80 to 150 miles a day -- to be confined in a small, little tank, day after day, night after night for the past 30-something years. That's not normal. That animal needs to go back to her normal habitat.

What does it say about our culture that it wasn't until these famous faces got attached to the campaign that people started to pay attention?

Unfortunately, in our society nobody listens to your next-door neighbor when he raises his voice. ...

When celebrities speak loud and stand up, it seems like everybody listens, it seems like everybody takes it more seriously, and I don't understand why normal people do not do the same thing ... This is work that we all have to do as citizens. We all have to raise our voices when something is not right. Why do we have to wait for celebrities to raise their voices first?

Is it the responsibility of celebrities then -- because they are influencing the public this way -- to research these organizations and get involved?

I think it's everybody's issue ... every citizen in this country has the same responsibility as any celebrity in Hollywood. Everybody should be responsible for taking care of our environment, our water, our animals. This responsibility belongs to everyone.

The bed we're gonna be sleeping in tomorrow, we're making it today.

What do you say to the argument that Lolita shouldn't be moved?

Those who oppose this are extremely arrogant. Who are they to say that animals cannot be relocated? If you put a person in a cage for 30 years and you ask him to choose -- "Do you want to get out of that cage or do you want to stay there?" -- what do you think he's going to say? He's gonna say he wants to get out of that cage. Unfortunately, animals cannot speak. That's why we need to speak for those animals who cannot speak for themselves.

For those who say, "Oh, the animal is happy here because we love him," it's completely erroneous. Animals need to be loved by humans -- but in their normal habitat. Meaning: Respected. We need to respect their habitat; we need to respect their privacy; and we need to respect their freedom. I don't want to love animals in captivity; I want to let them go. And this animal surely deserves to go back to her family, to her normal habitat. This animal has paid the highest price of her life: Being confined to a cage for 37 years. I can tell you 100 percent that animal cannot wait for the day to come that she's going to be free.

Speaking of raising voices -- tell me about the benefit concert. Is that still in the works?

It's part of our plans to put on a benefit concert -- absolutely. We want to do it in Miami, a couple of blocks from the Seaquarium. We're planning a series of events. But right now, our team is in the process of negotiations with the Seaquarium. We will try every single diplomatic road to resolve this situation properly for both parties. This has to be a winning situation for both parties.

I think [Seaquarium owner Arthur] Hertz should really think about this because he's got a whale that's not going to live more than five years in that tank. And he can come out of this one looking like a hero. It's up to him. But like I said, our team is putting together a diplomatic plan to negotiate the situation, make both parties win, and do the right thing.

So that's the first step ... and if that doesn't work?

Then the campaign goes to a whole new level ...



  • The court recognize Raul Julia Levy as Raul Julia legitimate son.

    A federal judge opposed the exhumation of the body of the famous actor from Hollywood, Raul Julia recognize his older son, Raul Julia Levy.

    Some time ago, the producer and philanthropist demanded in a federal court in Los Angeles, to exhumed the dead body of his father, at the same time he demanded that him and his supposedly brothers conducted a DNA test, but his father's widow, Merel Polloway, denies to do so.

  • Actor rescues stray dog, will pay for his cancer treatment in US

    The animal was named 'Pablito' and he is 13 years old.

    The Hollywood actor Raul Julia Levy prepares the chemotherapy and dialysis of a dog who was rescued from the street, which will have a cost of 30 thousand dollars.

  • Calakmul and Jaina film was stolen; the accusation was delayed by PGR

    The fim material of the architectural zone of Calakmul, Campeche, which was going to be utilizes for one of the documentaries most waited for in this past years in a international level, it was stolen and taken out illegally from the country.

    This happened in 2012- until now revealed by Chronic- it enclose corruption, dilation, and indifference on behalf of PGR and the state attorney, as well as disagreement between the National Institute of Anthropology and History and independent organizations in the film industry and television in the United States, which turns it into a potential conflict binational.

  • Hollywood leaves Mexico behind for violence and juristic uncertainty: Raul Julia

    The unpublished film material carried out of the archeological sites of Calakmul and Jaina, in Campeche, seems to be just one piece in the national inner workings for insecurities and juristic uncertainty.

    Based on data from the Organization of Associated Producers from Hollywood, in the last 4 years it has stopped filming in national territory for at least 100 movies and stop investing for more than 2 thousand to 300 million dollars that would of generated jobs for technicians and other Mexican workers.

  • Renato Sales was notify of the robbery for the filming material in Calakmul

    New official documents obtain by Cronica, proves that Renato Sales Heredia, being the general court agent of Justice in Campeche, was notify about the roberry and illegal substraction of the filming material of the archeological site of Calakmul and Jaina, two days after the event.

    On April 16, 2012, under the title "Help needed", the officer from the local Attorney General's office Angelica Concepción Hernandez Calderon lead the actual national officer of anti kidnapping with a letter in where the issue was described and it asked him to search for the collaboration of lawyers offices in all the states of the country to locate and present the Polish millionaire Elizabeth Thieriot and the other people involve in the issue.

  • It was not a competency for the Attorney's office of Campeche: Renato Sales

    The accusation of the supposed robbery and substraction of the filming material of the Archeological Site of Calakmul, Campeche, and the possible violation of the Federal law about Monuments, Archeological Sites, Artistic and Historical, they did not implied the competency of the Attorney's office of Justice of this state.

    This is what the national Anti kidnapping coordinator said, Renato Sales Heredia, who pointed out that last year on May 19 it was sent by PGR to this state branch the breakdown in certified copy of the previous investigation CCH-2453/1ERA/2012, in relation which was determined, on September 30, 2013, the Non Exercise of the Penalty Action (NEAP) in respect to conducts presumably crime relate in federal order.

  • Imcine demands the authorities to solve the robbery of the filming material of Calakmul

    The Cinematographic Mexican Institute (Imcine) demanded that the case of the robbery should be solved and the illegal subtraction of the country of unpublished filming material of the archeological site of Calakmul, in Campeche.

    "The issue represents something strong in terms that the affected person has presented a complaint and it should be in process and state the acts", Lorenza Manrique said, director of Aid to the Cinematographic Production and of the Mexican Filming Commission.

  • Specialist: penal responsibility in the case of Calakmul

    Before the violation of diverse constitutional articles and other laws, codes and rules, is viable to oppose to a political trial for the Calakmul case against the former attorney and current attorney of state justice of Campeche, Doctor Betty Zanolli Fabila concluded, specialist in civil rights and law enforcement of the Technological of Monterrey and UNAM.

    When an juristic analysis was conducted of the involved rules, the professor consider that Renato Sales Heredia- former attorney of Campeche- and current attorney Jose Ambrosio Herrera "they incurred in political responsibilities, administrative and overall criminal, for which the derivation of a political trial would let them file a complaint for the penalties of abuse of authority and wrongful exercise of public service.

  • They sell and spread outside of Mexico the Filming Material robbed in Calakmul

    Filming material of the archeological site of Calakmul, in Campeche, that had been stolen and taken out illegally out of the country since two years ago, it started spreading and be commercialised out of Mexico in the loss of cultural property of the country.

    The images were publishes in the preview of an emphasize documentary "Mayas Revelations and Hollywood lies", made by Elisabeth Thieriot, Polish millionaire located in the United States that on April 14, 2012 she took out the videos of national territory, stated in the promoted complaint before the Attorney's office of Campeche by the Hollywood producer, Raul Julia Levy, the only one with a permit form the National Institute of Anthropologist and History (INAH) to obtain the shooting...