Craig Leeson is a passionate oceans and mountain explorer, surfer, diver, aviator and an award-winning filmmaker, television presenter, news correspondent and entrepreneur. He is the director, explorer/narrator, and writer of the multi-award winning documentary feature film “A Plastic Ocean” (released 2017) and the producer/director/writer of The Last Glaciers (due for release on IMAX 2021). “A Plastic Ocean” was ranked the number one documentary on iTunes in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada shortly after it’s release.
Craig is the CEO of Leeson Media International, Leeson Global Media and Ocean Vista Films and founder of the I Shot Hong Kong Film Festival. He is the Sustainability Partner to BNP Paribas, an advisor to The Klosters Forum, and was Cathay Pacific’s first Change-maker Award recipient. He has advised government’s around the world on environment issues and was instrumental in helping frame and introduce legislation banning single use plastics to the Colombian and Mexican congresses. He has also advised and worked with the Asian Development Bank on oceans and single-use plastics-related issues and helped ADB’s president launch a US$5billion global healthy oceans initiative in Fiji. He has worked with the world’s major broadcasters as a producer and foreign correspondent, including BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, PBS, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Bio Channel, Universal, Al Jazeera and the Seven Network. He began his career as a newspaper journalist before moving to radio and television as a news correspondent and anchor for ABC TV Australia and later for ATV, RTHK and Star News (Hong Kong).
His documentary filmmaking career began in 1999 and since then he has won an Asia TV Award for “Rebel Impasse”, on the Maoist rebels of Nepal (ATV); “Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed”, (National Geographic Channel); and a New York Festivals medal for Best International Affairs Documentary on “The fall of President Suharto”. He has won 17 awards for A Plastic Ocean, which has been translated to more than 25 languages and was released on Netflix by Leonardo di Caprio. The film was simultaneously screened on Amazon and iTunes. A Plastic Ocean has been publicly screened in cinemas and at public events in over 70 countries on 6 continents. There have been over 2000 screenings globally hosted by government agencies, non-profits, schools, universities, individuals, multilateral institutions, corporations, aquariums and others, including the Smithsonian Institute, the Australian and UK Parliaments and the Mexican senate. The film was only the second chosen to be screened in the US Senate (An Inconvenient Truth the first) and was selected by the Senate as one of 50 showcase films to be screened in 55 US embassies around the world. A shorter 22-minute version of the film was premiered at the UN General Assembly, in conjunction with the Permanent Mission of Colombia, in 2018 in New York City, to more than 500 people. The film counts among its patrons UNESCO. His new feature film, The Last Glaciers, will be screened globally by IMAX and is slated for release in 2021.
Craig has produced and directed NGC’s top Asia television programmes and projects including The Making Of A Gala (first insider look at the workings of the Peninsula hotel), GeoWatch Asia, the Top 30 Countdown for NGC’s 10th anniversary special, and Earth Day promos shot in multiple countries. He produced and directed Asia’s first extreme sports television series – the Action Asia Challenge – and screened it on two networks simultaneously, NGCI and ESPN. He is the first film director to stage a fashion show at the UN headquarters in Geneva. He worked as media strategist and executive liaison on Asia’s biggest joint-venture business deal between Telstra Australia and PCCW, reporting directly to both boards. He is committed to charity work and was one of the founders of the A Plastic Oceans Foundation, based in Hong Kong. He has also produced successful fundraising films for Room To Read, Operation Smile, The Sovereign Art Foundation and FilmAid.
Craig is a renowned public speaker, moderator and emcee and has been the keynote at major corporate, conference and film festival events globally, including the Royal Geographic Society, Tedx, Forbes, Fortune Magazine, International Congress on Conservation Biology, FilmAid Asia, EarthX, The Klosters Forum, BNP Paribas Sustainability Future Forum, Academia Film Olomouc, Ocean Geograhic, Wonderfruit and many more. He has moderated or been the keynote speaker for clients such as BNP Paribas, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, European Shipping Owners, Cathay Pacific, to name a few.
He is a qualified bronze medal certified surf lifesaver having represented his home state Tasmania at the Australian titles, and holds medical, CPR and surf rescue crew certification as well as a surf rescue boat license. He is also a qualified advanced SCUBA diver and holds an FAA-rated private pilot’s license and a UK paragliding pilot’s certificate. Craig plays guitar in a published rock band. He is the fourth generation media entrepreneur in his family.
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