The filmmakers have spent the past three years traveling to some of the world's most violent locales in order to make this documentary on Somali piracy, Stolen Seas. Utilizing exclusive interviews and unparalleled access to real pirates, hostages, hostages' relatives, ship-owners, pirate negotiators and experts on piracy and international policy, Stolen Seas presents a chilling exploration of the Somali pirate phenomenon. The film throws the viewer, through audio recordings and found video
While the brash and dangerous tactics of Somali pirates have made the news on and off for the last decade, few journalists or filmmakers have been able to show the real convoluted story behind 21st-century piracy. With machine guns and speedboats replacing swords and swashbuckling, the world of Somali pirates is deconstructed by director Thymaya Payne in his new documentary Stolen Seas. The film follows the harrowing takeover of the Danish ship CEC Future and the exhaustive negotiations between the pirates and the shipping company's executives as they haggle over the right price to get the crew released. Rather than rely solely on experts and stock footage, Payne journeyed both to Copenhagen, where the shipping company was located, and to Somalia to track down the negotiator Ishmael Ali, who was working for the pirates. Payne's film avoids characterizing any one person in black and white: we see Ali being both a loving family man and smart negotiator, a 17-year-old pirate listens to American music before storming a multimillion dollar ship, and the shipping company CEO ends up creating an NGO to aid Somalia. We caught up with Payne to ask him about finding pirates and his hope for Somalia.