I’m a documentary filmmaker, content creator, writer and speaker. With the planet's biodiversity rapidly disappearing, my work focuses largely on conservation action and reconnecting with "the wild". I'm also passionate about exploration, societal trends and issues, holistic progress, health and mental health. I'm fascinated by the way our minds work and interact with the world — what do we care about, what should we care about, how do we shift what we care about, and why?
My home base is in Tofino, on Vancouver Island. While I let my interests and work take me where I need to go, I'm grateful to call the Pacific Northwest home. I love to dive, surf, run, ski, adventure, photograph, play and write music, write, read, and then read some more.
my story >>
I grew up in a small, friendly Canadian town. I played hockey, did theatre and was a straight-A student. Life was good, but I was looking for something more, something different; my curiousity was, and always has been, insatiable. A desire to push myself, to learn, to see the world and the wild inspired me.
When I was 18, I convinced my parents to let me live in the the Amazon jungle (I'm still not entirely sure how I managed that). A classmate (now, a close friend) joined me, and together we organized a flight on a small Cessna plane to a remote community in the Ecuadorian Amazon — a community which had only just made contact with the modern world within the last few decades.
one species >> making wildlife conservation mainstream
In 2016, I started a brand called One Species. The vision was to "make wildlife conservation mainstream" using something that anyone could connect with: clothing. We designed clothing after specific endangered species, and 10% of sales went towards organizations working to save the species.
The idea worked. I ran it, alongside a small team, for two years. We sold hats, t-shirts and socks to customers around the world. We built a global ambassador program and visited our partners on the ground. Everything seemed to be going great! But in reality, it wasn't. This is the story of where I went wrong, what I learned, and what's next...
The phenomena of the loss or decline of a species, resulting in the loss or endangerment of other species that depend on it, leading to cascading effects across trophic levels.
A few years ago, Gloria Pancrazi and I met on Saturna Island. We'd both travelled across the continent to learn about endangered killer whales, the ocean's apex predator. But it wasn't long before we were met with a dark reality: the orcas were on a fast track to functional extinction.
The following year, we decided to journey across the Pacific Northwest to speak with scientists, Indigenous leaders, politicians, dedicated conservationists and industry representatives. We tracked orcas, trailed grizzly bears and sailed through remote waters. All this, and more, to better understand the orcas' rapid disappearance.
In the end, we discovered that this extinction story is about far more than endangered orcas. It's about the collapse of fisheries, loss of cultures, a warming ocean and an entire ecosystem in peril. This is coextinction.
Visit www.coextinctionfilm.com to learn more.
I'm speaking in schools, and at events, largely about conservation action and mental health. Whether it's motivating students or audiences to reconnect with their purpose or the planet; or teaching others how to start and maintain a impactful brand; I'd love to speak at your school or event!
Speaking at the Surfrider Speaker Series, in Vancouver, about conservation action
"It has been a long time since I’ve seen an audience as captivated as Elena’s. By the flow and clarity of her presentation, you would think she has been speaking about the themes within Coextinction over a 20-year career, which only reveals how driven she is to stand for the oceans. She reaches past our eyes and ears, and directly connects our hearts. If you participate in the conversation, you’ll walk away with a new dose of inspiration and hope for this planet."
- Sam Rose Phillips, Filmmaker
I've helped countless others share their stories, build their brands and grow their audiences. My extensive, multi-faceted creative skillset, and experience shooting, editing, storytelling and marketing, enables me to help change-makers, artists and organizations develop more influence so they can have more impact.