Most people aren’t thrilled at the chance to be surrounded by a shiver of sharks, but Valerie Taylor isn’t most people. A fearless diver, marine conservationist, and Australian icon, she dedicated most of her life to exploring the beauty of sharks—forming a sought-after underwater cinematography team with her husband, Ron, and even shooting the real sharks in Jaws. Director Sally Aitken captures Taylor’s enduring passion for these intimidating creatures and her unflinching willingness to connect with them in their element.
Now in her 80s, Taylor reflects on her lifelong journey with the sea while sumptuous, remastered 16mm footage transports us to the mysterious deep and testifies to the richness of the ocean as it once was. Today, only a small percentage of sharks are left—a grim reality Taylor and her husband fought to avoid through their conservation efforts. Playing With Sharks is a zestful celebration of Taylor’s life and a love letter to the wonder of misunderstood sharks. After all, as Taylor would say, they could just as well be dogs.