Craig Leeson is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, presenter and entrepreneur, on a mission to end single-use plastic within a generation. He is the executive producer, director, writer and narrator of landmark global documentary A Plastic Ocean (2016), which documents the devastating global impact of plastic pollution on people and the planet. This year, he released his much anticipated follow-on film, The Last Glaciers; the most comprehensive film ever produced about the relationship between climate change, mountain environments and glaciers. His films are powerful vehicles for opening the eyes of audiences around the world to the impacts of human behaviour on the planet, and the urgent need for global climate action.
Mr Leeson grew up in the town of Burnie in north-west Tasmania, spending his days surfing, exploring rockpools, and nurturing injured animals. At a young age, he decided he wanted to be a vet or a park ranger or follow in the footsteps of nature documentary legend, David Attenborough. Decades later, the final option came true. Mr Leeson began his career as a newspaper journalist before moving to radio and television as a news correspondent and anchor for ABC TV Australia. He has worked with major global broadcasters including the BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, PBS, Al Jazeera and Australia’s ABC and Seven Network. He began his documentary filmmaking career with the National Geographic Channel, producing and directing NGC’s top Asia television programs and projects including GeoWatch Asia, the Top 30 Countdown for NGC’s 10th Anniversary Special, Marco Polo: Mystery of the Middle Kingdom, the channel’s Earth Day promotions, and the extreme sports action series the Action Asia Challenge.
Mr Leeson’s work demonstrates the power of storytelling to achieve social and environmental impact, and he has built his media organisations in pursuit of this goal. He is the founder of Leeson Media International and Ocean Vista Films and Chairman of the I Shot Hong Kong Film Festival. Mr Leeson’s debut cinematic feature film released in 2016, A Plastic Ocean attracted international acclaim. Shot over four years, and across 20 locations, Mr Leeson teamed up with diver Tanya Streeter and an international team of scientists and researchers, to explore the fragile state of our oceans and the global effects of plastic pollution. The film has been screened in over 70 countries around the world, has won 17 film festival awards, was ranked number one documentary on iTunes in the US, UK and Canada, and is available globally on Amazon and Netflix. Mr Leeson’s latest film released this year aims to build on the impact of A Plastic Ocean. Also filmed over four years, across 12 countries, The Last Glaciers took Mr Leeson, his crew and teams of scientists to the tips of some of the world’s highest mountains, to witness first-hand the dramatic changes taking place. investigates how ice, particularly glaciers, tells us the story of past climate change, and how humans are knowingly impacting the Earth’s climate.
Determined to build on the power of film to inspire change in consumer behaviour, corporate practices and public policy responses, Mr Leeson is also an advisor to the Klosters Forum, Sustainability Partner with BNP Paribas, and is Chief Evangelist for Plastic Oceans International, a non-profit organisation dedicated to ending plastic pollution and fostering sustainable communities worldwide.